RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Labcorp has made an “upfront investment” in GeneCentric Therapeutics, the company announced today.

GeneCentric Therapeutics president and CEO Michael V. Milburn signed an SEC filing on October 4 noting that the company had raised $4.5 million from a single investor.  A spokesperson for the company confirmed to WRAL TechWire that Labcorp is the investor indicated on the SEC filing on Tuesday morning.

The company announced a partnership and strategic collaboration with Labcorp early Tuesday, with the purpose of developing and commercializing “new RNA-based gene signatures as diagnostics for people with cancer” according to a statement issued by the company.

The two organizations do have a prior relationship, the company said.  Milburn told WRAL TechWire in an interview on Tuesday that Labcorp is also a prior investor in the company.

Here’s how the companies plan to work together, according to its statement: “RNA-based gene signatures will be co-developed alongside Labcorp Drug Development, while subsequent tests will be deployed to major academic and community cancer centers through Labcorp Diagnostics.”

Under the agreement, GeneCentric could earn additional development milestones, the company stated.

“Labcorp has been a great partner as GeneCentric pioneered RNA-based gene signature technology and diagnostics to where they are today,” said Milburn.  “They have an established track record of innovation in the precision medicine space with their extensive menu of companion and complementary diagnostic tests, as well as a shared vision for the promise of RNA signatures as the next generation of cancer diagnostics. This expanded collaboration will be instrumental in helping us commercialize our novel, RNA-based diagnostics.”

GeneCentric raises $4.5M in equity financing from single investor, could raise $3M more

According to the company, RNA-based gene signatures can “provide deeper insights of the tumor and immune micro-environment when compared to traditional DNA testing.”  RNA-based gene signatures can also be used to identify broader patient populations.

“Our latest strategic collaboration with GeneCentric will draw upon their industry-leading RNA-based signatures and help facilitate the creation of better tools for oncology diagnostics, drug development and patient care,” said Steven Anderson, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Labcorp Drug Development in a statement.  “The new diagnostics developed through this arrangement will further our goal of enabling physicians to improve outcomes by tailoring treatment options based on precision medicine.”