NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Grail and Cirina, two startups looking to commercialize liquid biopsy tests for early cancer detection, have decided to join forces.
Cirina, which was founded by Dennis Lo of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and raised $12 million in a Series A financing round in 2014, will operate as a subsidiary of Grail.
Lo is a pioneer in the field of circulating cell-free DNA, and his lab licensed the technology that led to Sequenom’s development of the first commercial noninvasive prenatal test for Down syndrome. He will be a scientific co-founder of the combined entity and will join Grail’s scientific advisory board. Maneesh Jain, CEO of Cirina, will also join the Grail team. In addition, Min Cui, founding partner and managing director of Decheng Capital, which led Cirina’s Series A financing, will join Grail’s board as an observer.
Combining with Cirina will enable Grail to expand into Asian markets since Cirina was based out of Hong Kong and had research collaborations with CUHK. Grail CEO Jeff Huber said in a statement that the Grail team is looking forward to collaborating with Lo and colleagues Rossa Chiu and Allen Chan at CUHK. “By combining our scientific expertise