Singapore Cancer Detection Firm Lucence Raises $20m in IHH-led Series A

Lucence is the inventor of blood-based tests for cancer screening and treatment selection.

Photo courtesy of Lucence.

Lucence, a genomic medicine company that invents blood-based tests for cancer screening and treatment selection, announced today the close of US$20 million in Series A funding.

The round was led by IHH Healthcare, one of the world’s largest integrated private healthcare groups. SGInnovate, together with existing investors Temasek Holdings subsidiary Heliconia Capital, Lim Kaling, Koh Boon Hwee and others, also participated in the round.

Lucence said this funding will enable the company to provide its liquid biopsy technology to more patients across Asia and North America for personalized treatment selection. The company will also embark on new prospective clinical studies to evaluate its technology for the early detection of multiple cancers.

Lucence spun out of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in 2016. In 2018, the company introduced its flagship next-generation sequencing test, LiquidHALLMARK®, the first and only clinical sequencing blood test that detects both cancer-related gene mutations and cancer-causing viruses within a single assay.

The test has been used by oncologists in cancer diagnosis, monitoring and treatment selection for over 1,000 patients in Asia to date. LiquidHALLMARK® detects clinically relevant mutations across 14 cancer types, including lung, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, nasopharyngeal and liver cancers.

The test is based on Lucence’s core molecular watermarking technology, AmpliMARK™, for improved accuracy and depth in sequencing results. In 2019, Lucence’s Singapore central laboratory became the first laboratory in Southeast Asia to be CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited in order to bring LiquidHALLMARK® to physicians and patients in the United States.

“Our mission is to reduce worldwide suffering through early cancer detection. As a medical oncologist, I have worked in the clinic and the laboratory for over a decade, striving towards a world where cancer can be overcome with early screening,” said Dr. Min-Han Tan, MBBS, PhD, founder and CEO of Lucence.

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“Our research discoveries, such as the identification of the circulating tumor-endothelial cluster, can transform the liquid biopsy field, allowing better non-invasive cancer screening and profiling for patients. This partnership with IHH Healthcare will accelerate our work to achieve early cancer detection and effective cures, and expand access to this much-needed liquid biopsy technology to patients across Asia and the United States,” he added.

Dr. Kelvin Loh, Chief Executive Officer (Designate) of IHH Healthcare, said, “Liquid biopsy is a game-changer in our endeavor to provide cancer patients with better, value-driven outcomes through precise treatment selections and more affordable care. Our investment in Lucence will provide IHH patients with better access to this advanced technology. IHH looks to drive greater synergies with Lucence and co-develop solutions for patients, as well as explore opportunities to sharpen our precision medicine capabilities with other like-minded partners across our 10-country network.” – ©