INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Early is Good (EIG), a diagnostic solutions company focused on renal disease, announced it has closed a $4 million seed round from Social Capital, the Silicon Valley-based technology investment firm managed by Chamath Palihapitiya. EIG’s mission is to enable the early, accurate, and widely accessible detection of renal system diseases, including bladder, kidney, and prostate cancers, by assessing specific biomarkers found in urine.
The funds will be used to complete clinical trials for EIG’s first product, BCDx, a lab-developed test (LDT) for early bladder cancer detection. The BCDx test uses advanced nanotechnology to quantify a panel of biomarkers found in a patient’s urine to diagnose bladder cancer and the stage of the disease.
Bladder cancer is among the most diagnosed cancers (#6 overall, #4 among men) in the U.S. In 2022, more than 81,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, of which 17,000 are not expected to survive the disease. Once diagnosed, bladder cancer has a 50-80% recurrence rate, making it one of the most expensive cancers to treat over a patient's lifetime.
Comparing BCDx to contemporary diagnostic methods
In most cases, blood in the urine (hematuria) is the first sign of bladder cancer. Today, [if blood is present,] the diagnostic gold standard is to perform a cystoscopy (invasive) or cytology (under microscope). However, both techniques rely on the subjective observations of oncologists and pathologists, in addition to cystoscopies being invasive and uncomfortable, with potential complications including infection, bleeding, perforation, and urinary retention.
The BCDx assay is unique because it uses a single lab-developed test to evaluate a range of biomarkers from proteins, microRNAs, and mRNAs to long noncoding RNAs. The non-invasive technology does not require extraction or amplification and uses a hybrid dual read-out method to accurately quantify specific biomarkers.
In EIG’s analytical validation study of BCDx, data demonstrates unprecedented attomolar sensitivity and specificity, with high PPV and NPV values for biomarkers that are present in picomolar concentrations and establishes a strong foundation for an effective, non-invasive, and robust diagnostic for the bladder cancer community.
EIG’s founder and CEO, Thakshila Liyanage, Ph.D., said, “Despite being one of the most common cancers in the U.S., we still rely on old techniques to diagnose bladder cancer. Our technology can distinguish healthy versus oncogenic phenotypes earlier and more specifically than a cystoscopy, while also having the benefit of being non-invasive and less reliant on inconvenient procedures and subjective analysis.”
Social Capital partner, Jay Zaveri, said, “EIG hopes to give millions of people access to accurate, convenient, and early diagnoses for renal diseases. With EIG’s early breakthrough work around bladder cancer, they are developing a single lab-developed test, BCDx, which would enable patients to detect potential bladder cancer earlier and more conveniently than any other test currently available.”
About Early is Good (EIG)
Early is Good is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, with labs at the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute and the Indiana Center for Biomedical Innovation. EIG believes that earlier detection yields better outcomes and focuses on developing highly sensitive, accurate, and non-invasive diagnostic tests for early diagnosis and management care of cancer.
To learn more about Early is Good, visit www.earlyisgood.com.
About Social Capital
Social Capital makes big bets on transformational ideas, technology, and people. Social Capital invests in smart, profit-minded opportunities and forward-thinking social investments that have the potential to shape a better future.
To learn more about Social Capital, visit www.socialcapital.com.