Biotech firm HealthTell said this week that it has raised $4 million to support development of its immunosignature diagnostic technology.
The company will put the funds toward validating a test for the early detection of lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
“Last year, more than 270,000 Americans died from lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers — the top four cancers worldwide,” Bill Colston, co-founder and CEO of HealthTell, said in a statement. “This $4 million in new funding will help HealthTell demonstrate the ability of its test to provide reproducible detection of these tumors at an early stage, when treatment outcomes are significantly improved.”
Founded in 2010 by Colston and Arizona State University Biodesign Institute researchers Stephen Johnston, Neal Woodbury, and John Rajasekaran, HealthTell uses random-sequence peptide microarrays to capture antibodies in patient blood samples. Based on the levels of antibody binding, researchers build antibody expression profiles that can then be correlated with various disease states.
According to HealthTell, the Biodesign researchers have demonstrated the use of the technology in more than 30 illnesses ranging from cancer to infectious disease.
Johnston's lab in 2012 won a $30 million grant from the US Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency to build a prototype of a health monitoring chip based on the technology (PM 4/27/2012). HealthTell is supplying chips for this project.