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Guardant Health Releases Breakthrough Blood Test to Improve Cancer Treatment

GUARDANT360 provides oncologists with real-time genetic information to improve therapies for cancer patients; announces partnership with Sequoia

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Guardant Health TM today announced the commercial availability of GUARDANT360TM, the first pan-cancer blood test that helps oncologists prescribe the right treatments at the right time based on the changing genetics of a patient's cancer. Guardant also announced that last year it partnered with Sequoia Capital and raised $10 million to accelerate development of the technology behind the test.

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"The introduction of GUARDANT360 opens a new front in the war on cancer," said Helmy Eltoukhy, Ph.D., Guardant Health's co-founder and chief executive officer. "Patients and their oncologists can now non-invasively track cancer genetically before, during and after treatment. This is particularly helpful because until now we have been blind to the way cancer evolves in response to treatment. The ability to see these changes can lead to significantly more effective treatments."

Current treatment often requires surgery to retrieve biopsies for genetic analysis. Biopsies are risky, costly and do not capture genetic changes that may emerge over time or in response to several cycles of therapy. In contrast, GUARDANT360's non-invasive blood test makes it much easier for physicians to more frequently obtain genetic information crucial to treating successfully a patient's cancer. The test is now available to select cancer centers across the United States.

GUARDANT360 works by reconstructing the relevant portions of a patient's cancer genome using trace fragments of tumor DNA that are shed into the bloodstream ("cell-free DNA"). Unfortunately, these fragments are typically found at exceedingly low concentrations (around one part in 200), and current DNA sequencing technologies can only reliably detect at one part in 20. Guardant's breakthrough "Digital Sequencing," technology enables high-fidelity, single-molecule DNA sequencing and improves detection sensitivity well over 100-fold.

"GUARDANT360 is built on a unique technology platform that is able to comprehensively detect all major classes of tumor genetic alterations with unprecedented sensitivity," said AmirAli Talasaz, co-founder and president at Guardant Health. "This technology is the first of its kind and empowers oncologists to discover many novel genetic aspects of why cancer treatments fail, and to combat these failures through existing drugs that are often overlooked."

Recent clinical studies with GUARDANT360 have shown excellent performance in the top five cancers (breast, lung, colorectal, skin and prostate), which, combined, account for over half of all cancer cases.  Today at the Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference in San Francisco, Dr. Dave Hoon, Chief of Scientific Intelligence and Director, Molecular Oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute ("JWCI"), will present findings that show that the test can detect cancer-specific genetic alterations in nearly 90% of patients across various disease types and stages. Dr. Hoon is known as a pioneer in the area of using cell-free DNA for oncology applications, and Guardant Health has been working with Dr. Hoon and JWCI since the company's early days.

"We have long known about the potential to monitor patients for emergent tumor mutations through blood analysis and how critical this could be to improving outcomes for cancer patients," said Dr Hoon.  "I'm very excited that the power of non-invasive tumor sequencing will soon be widely available through GUARDANT360."

"Helmy and AmirAli are archetypal Sequoia founders: maniacally driven, technical, and targeting a critical unmet need," said Warren Hogarth, Sequoia partner and Guardant board member. "We're thrilled to be partners with a company that is so uniquely positioned to improve treatment outcomes and ultimately, the quality of life of cancer patients."

To learn more, visit www.guardanthealth.com.

About Guardant Health
Guardant Health is focused on developing breakthrough diagnostic technologies that can transform cancer from a silent killer into a manageable disease.  Guardant was founded in 2012 by a team of serial entrepreneurs with expertise in next-generation sequencing, single-cell genomics and cancer diagnostics.  To date, the Company has raised over $10M in funds from Sequoia Capital and various angel investors, including a few well-known Silicon Valley tech executives.

About Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital helps founders turn imaginative ideas into enduring companies. As the "Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs," the Sequoia team has worked closely with legendary founders such as Steve Jobs of Apple, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner of Cisco, David Filo and Jerry Yang of Yahoo!, Max Levchin, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel of PayPal, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley of YouTube, and Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn. Sequoia is now helping the next generation of innovators build the lasting companies of tomorrow. 

SOURCE Guardant Health

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