DELFI Diagnostics Receives Equity Investment From Merck Global Health Innovation Fund

DELFI Diagnostics, a Palo Alto, CA-based developer of blood-based tests, received an equity investment from the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (GHIF).

The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate development and commercialization of its cancer detection solutions.

Led by CEO Susan Tousi, DELFI Diagnostics is developing blood-based tests to help detect cancer. Employing advanced machine-learning methods to whole-genome sequencing data, its platform is built to address the highest-burden health challenges. The system relies on fragmentomics – the discovery that cancer cells are more chaotic than normal cells and, when they die, leave behind tell-tale patterns and characteristics of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) fragments.

The company has commercialized the FirstLook Lung test, which evaluates patterns of DNA fragments in the blood that reveal the presence of lung cancer. In an independent validation, FirstLook Lung was shown to have 80% sensitivity in a screening population, including reliable detection of the earliest stages of the disease. The test also demonstrated a negative predictive value (NPV) of 99.8% – a measure of how unlikely low-dose CT scans will detect lung cancer if the FirstLook Lung test returns a ‘Not Elevated’ result.

Commenting on the news, Susan Tousi said: “This investment will help propel our fragmentomics and AI technologies, with the potential to make a meaningful population-scale difference in detecting cancer early with high precision at a disruptive price.