Helix Raises $50M Series C Financing toward Platform, COVID-19 Testing, Viral Surveillance

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Helix's population genomics platform enables the collection, sequencing, and secure storage of an individual's DNA, while allowing continuous access to the genomic data and insights as needed, without collecting additional saliva samples. The company has raised $50 million in Series C financing. [Source; Helix]

Helix has completed a $50 million Series C financing, with the company saying it will use the proceeds to further develop its population genomics platform and expand its COVID-19 testing and viral surveillance efforts.

Based in San Mateo, CA, Helix has developed an end-to-end genomics platform designed to advance genomic research and accelerate the integration of genomic data into clinical care through its unique Sequence Once, Query Often model.

The platform enables the collection, sequencing, and secure storage of an individual’s DNA, while allowing continuous access to the genomic data and insights as needed, without collecting additional saliva samples.

With this model, an individual’s DNA can be collected, sequenced and securely stored once, while allowing continuous access to the genomic data and insights as needed, without collecting additional saliva samples.

In January, the Helix Laboratory Platform was granted the first and only FDA authorization for a whole exome sequencing platform.

“The novel FDA pathway we created for our Helix Laboratory Platform means that Helix and our partners will be able to develop and obtain market authorization for future tests using subsets of sequencing data generated from the platform, including for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and carrier screening,” Helix co-founder and CEO James Lu, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement.

Helix’s Exome+ assay is designed to sequence approximately 20,000 protein-coding genes and 300,000 informative non-coding regions. Health systems, life sciences companies, and payers use the data from Helix’s assay to improve health outcomes by powering population health programs, increasing patient engagement, and accelerating research.

In addition, Helix is leveraging its expertise in large-scale next-generation sequencing to drive its viral surveillance offering, designed to help organizations detect, characterize, and better understand the impact of emerging strains of COVID-19.

Helix’s Exome+ and COVID-19 viral sequencing both leverage the company’s CLIA-certified and-CAP-accredited next generation sequencing laboratory, which according to the company is one of the largest such labs in the world.

Founded in 2015 as a personal genomics spinout of Illumina, Helix estimates it has empowered hundreds of thousands of individuals to improve their lives through their DNA—including through large-scale population health initiatives such as Renown Health’s Healthy Nevada Project and Mayo Clinic’s Tapestry program.

In 2018, Helix completed a $200 million Series B financing  intended to advance development of its “marketplace” for DNA-powered products across categories that include ancestry, health, wellness, and entertainment. Helix oversees sample collection, DNA sequencing, and secure data storage for those products.

Warburg Pincus, DFJ Growth, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, the Mayo Clinic, and Temasek co-led the $50 million financing.

“Helix has a proven and tested platform for generating high-quality genomic data, securing it, and making it portable so that it can provide a lifetime of insights to health systems, life sciences companies, and payers all working toward a healthier world,” stated Amr Kronfol, managing director at Warburg Pincus.

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