Bill Gates backs cancer test startup to create a precise genomic tumor blueprint

Bill Gates

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is tossing his support behind a Cambridge, Massachusetts company by the name of Foundation Medicine which is developing new tests for cancer.  Gates is among the investors pumping $13.5 million into the company, bringing Foundation’s latest round of financing to $56 million.

“Advances in understanding the human genome are having a dramatic impact on almost every area of medicine,” said Gates in a press release. “Foundation Medicine’s approach in harnessing the power of genomic data to improve care for cancer patients could represent an extremely important step forward in improving routine cancer care. I’m happy to be supporting this quite promising approach.”

Other investors include Russian venture capitalist Yuri Miner and former Digene Corporation CEO Evan Jones, as well as Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and others.  The startup’s first product is dubbed FoundationOne, a genomic assay that analyzes tumor DNA and helps doctors decide what medications are best suited for the type of cancer.

In this promotional video, the company says the tests are like “having a team of the world’s foremost cancer experts working for every patient.” The company is operating in the area of personalized medicine, an idea touted by award-winning scientist Leroy Hood of Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology.

Full press release here.