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RareCyte develops hardware and software technologies that help researchers perform liquid biopsies, including custom assays shown here. (RareCyte Photo)

A liquid biopsy sounds like far-future tech: It’s essentially a blood test that can detect cancer by analyzing DNA from dead tumor cells that floats in a patient’s bloodstream.

These procedures are already being done today on a small scale, and many in the medical field hope they hold the key to early and easy detection of cancers. Seattle biotech startup RareCyte is also hoping that’s true.

RareCyte is developing technology that helps researchers perform liquid biopsies and the company announced Tuesday that it has raised $30 million to drive it towards that goal. The round was led by 5AM Ventures and brings the company’s total investments to $48 million.

RareCyte Investor Joe Victor was appointed as the startup’s new CEO Tuesday. (5AM Ventures Photo)

RareCyte investor and board member Joe Victor, also a member of 5AM, has also been appointed the company’s new CEO. RareCyte founder and former CEO, Ron Seubert, will transition to serving as CTO.

“I have worked with Joe for over 17 years and could not be more pleased to have him lead the company to drive commercialization and growth moving forward,” Seubert said in a press release.

RareCyte was spun out of Applied Precision Inc. (API) by Seubert in 2011, shortly after General Electric acquired API. The company now employs 30 at its headquarters in downtown Seattle.

The company offers both hardware and software products that help researchers extract and analyze biometric data from blood samples, which are primarily aimed at researchers performing liquid biopsies. The technology is already in use in “thousands” of research labs around the world, according to a RareCyte release.

Victor is a Seattle-area venture capitalist and advisor who has a history of leading life sciences companies. Most notably, he served as the president and CEO of Applied Precision Inc. for twelve years. He left the company shortly after its acquisition by GE.

“RareCyte has hit an inflection point for research use and CDx programs with its liquid biopsy based analysis of rare cells that provides easy access for clinical researchers. I am excited about the opportunity to have our technology adopted in labs across the world,”  Victor said in the release.

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