ATLANTA, GA and FRIENDSWOOD, TX, April 16, 2019 – BrightEdge Impact Fund, the American Cancer Society’s newly formed philanthropic impact fund, today announced its participation in an $11.6 million convertible note investment in Castle Biosciences Inc., a cancer-diagnostics company. The investment is BrightEdge’s first since its formation late last year to invest in companies developing promising cancer-related therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and technologies.
Castle Biosciences develops and markets dermatological-cancer diagnostic tests that generate personalized, actionable genomic information to help doctors and patients make more informed decisions on treatments. Last year, the company processed tests for more than 13,000 patients. Year to date, it’s received over 40,000 diagnostic orders.
“Since the company’s founding in 2008, we’ve developed and commercialized some of the industry’s most innovative skin-cancer diagnostics to improve treatment options and, ultimately, patient outcomes,” said Castle Biosciences CEO Derek Maetzold. “As BrightEdge’s first investment, we are more committed than ever to the mission we share with the American Cancer Society to fight for a world without cancer.”
Castle Biosciences’ DecisionDx-Melanoma diagnostic helps doctors assess treatment options for patients with cutaneous (skin) melanoma. Its DecisionDx-UM model, a separate test, predicts metastatic risk for patients with uveal melanoma, a rare and deadly eye cancer. Both are commercially approved and covered by several private insurers. Medicare recently approved both tests for reimbursement coverage under policies administered by two of its insurance contractors, Palmetto GBA and Noridian Healthcare Solutions.
“The significance of this investment goes well beyond simply representing BrightEdge’s first deal,” said Bob Crutchfield, managing director of BrightEdge. “Castle Biosciences is exactly the kind of company we look for and a near-perfect illustration of what our new impact fund is all about. It both has potential to deliver a strong financial return and moves us forward in BrightEdge’s ultimate mission to drive innovation and win the fight against cancer.”
BrightEdge expects to raise $125 million from private donors to augment an initial $25 million investment from the American Cancer Society.
Castle Biosciences will use proceeds from the convertible note to expand patient access to its diagnostic tests, grow its sales force, and build out its pipeline of skin-cancer diagnostic and prognostic tests.
BrightEdge Impact Fund is the American Cancer Society’s donor-funded, philanthropic impact fund. Led by a team of investment and venture capital professionals, BrightEdge operates under a charitable fund model that invests in for-profit companies developing novel cancer-focused therapies and technologies. The fund’s goal is to accelerate patient access to today’s most-promising cancer-related solutions through capital investment, market awareness and a shared commitment to eradicate cancer. BrightEdge is based in Atlanta. For more information, visit brightedgefund.org.
The DecisionDx-Melanoma test uses tumor biology to predict individual risk of melanoma recurrence and sentinel lymph node positivity independent of traditional factors and has been studied in tests on some 2,900 patients. Using tissue from the primary melanoma, the test measures the expression of 31 genes.
The test has been validated in three multicenter studies of 690 patients. Performance has also been confirmed in five prospective studies on 780 patients. The consistent high performance and accuracy demonstrated provides confidence in disease-management plans that incorporate DecisionDx-Melanoma test results.
Prediction of sentinel lymph node positivity has also been validated in two prospective multicenter studies of 1,400 patients. Impact on patient management plans for one of every two patients tested has been demonstrated in multicenter and single-center studies. More information on the studies can be found at www.SkinMelanoma.com.
Castle Biosciences is a skin cancer diagnostics company dedicated to helping patients and their physicians make more informed decisions about treatment and follow-up care based on the individual molecular signature of a patient’s tumor. The company currently offers tests for patients with cutaneous melanoma (DecisionDx®-Melanoma, DecisionDx®-CMSeq; www.SkinMelanoma.com) and uveal melanoma (DecisionDx®-UM, DecisionDx®-PRAME and DecisionDx®-UMSeq), with programs in development for other underserved cancers, the most advanced of which is focused on cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Castle Biosciences is based in Friendswood, Tx., on the outskirts of Houston. Its labs are in Phoenix. More information can be found at www.MyUvealMelanoma.com and www.CastleBiosciences.com.
DecisionDx-Melanoma, DecisionDx-CMSeq, DecisionDx-UM, DecisionDx-PRAME and DecisionDx-UMSeq are trademarks of Castle Biosciences Inc. Any other trademarks mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners.
For Castle Biosciences
Derek Maetzold, president and CEO
For BrightEdge Impact Fund