Thrive will commercialise a blood test for multiple early-stage cancers based on research at Johns Hopkins University, following a series A round backed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

US-based oncology diagnostics technology startup Thrive Earlier Detection launched yesterday with 110m in series A funding from investors including of health insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and diagnostics services provider Exact Sciences.

The round was  led by venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures and included Section 32, Casdin Capital, Biomatics Capital, Invus, Cowin Venture, Camden Partners, Gamma 3 and unnamed additional investors.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association participated in the round through its corporate venturing arm, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners.

Thrive Earlier Detection will further advance and commercialise a blood test called CancerSeek that is capable of detecting multiple cancer types at an early stage. The test boasts a specificity of more than 99% while minimising false positives.

The test is based on research by three faculty members at Johns Hopkins University: Bert Vogelstein, the Clayton professor of oncology and pathology, and professors of oncology Kenneth Kinzler and Nickolas Papadopoulos.

Thrive will integrate patient data and machine learning to further improve CancerSeek, which relies on analysing a combination of DNA and protein measurements. It has already secured Breakthrough Device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration for pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

The company was established by Third Rock Ventures, and Third Rock partners Steven Kafka and Christoph Lengauer are its chief executive and chief innovation officer, respectively.

Kafka said: “To be truly useful to patients, new medical technology must be developed with rigorous evidence and designed to be affordable and readily integrated into routine medical care.

“With the help of experts and strategic partners, Thrive is launching today to advance a novel test for the earlier detection of multiple cancers, which we aim to augment with an integrated service that helps patients manoeuvre the often confusing path that follows a cancer diagnosis.”

The original version of this article appeared on our sister site, Global University Venturing.