3billion Inc. (https://3billion.io), a rare disease diagnostics company, said that it raised $13M in a Series C financing round last week. 3billion has raised total $30M from seed to Series C financing since 2017.
5 existing investors led the financing round with two new investors. The investors are as follows: The Wells Investment, JW Asset, Magna Investment, Yuanta Investment, Aventures Investment, Korea Investment & Securities, and Kakao Investment.
Kakao Investment, an investment branch of Kakao Corporation, South Korea’s mobile platform giant, joined the round as a strategic investor for business collaboration on digital healthcare service with 3billion. Kakao Corp., decided to invest in 3billion for its advanced AI technology on genome interpretation.
3billion provides Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) and Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) based rare disease diagnostic services for more than 8,000 rare patients of 32 countries including USA, UK, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Brazil in 2020, 4 times more than the previous year. 3billion expects to provide the diagnostic tests to 20,000 rare patients this year.
3billion also succeed to improve an AI technology to interpret genetic variants. Last year, 3billion developed 3Cnet, a deep learning based variant interpretation model, which shows 14% more accurate to predict pathogenicity of missense variants and 2 times more accurate to identify causal variants compared to previous methods. 3Cnet uses RNN and knowledge transfer for the AI model to overcome the shortage of data to cover the variants in whole genome regions.
To maximize the diagnostic rate for patients, 3billion started to provide daily reanalysis service without any additional charge for patients undiagnosed at initial interpretation of genome data.
On the average, 20-30 new rare genetic diseases are discovered every month and various sources of evidence data on variants are updated every day. A patient undiagnosed yesterday could be diagnosed today with the updated data. Reanalysis of patient’s genome data from failed genetic tests costs thousands of dollars (USD), making the reanalysis almost impossible for patients. 3billion devised efficient computational systems to reduce cost and time for reanalysis and decided not to charge the reanalysis cost for undiagnosed patients. The undiagnosed patients’ genomes are reanalyzed everyday within its in-house lab and once a causal variant is identified, the result would be reported to physicians.
“The patients’ value is most important for us. 3billion was started to solve the diagnostic odyssey of rare patients. Making reanalysis free might reduce the revenue in short term, but it will definitely make more patients to get diagnosed. It’s enough rewards for 3billion members” said Changwon Keum, CEO of 3billion.
3billion starts to prepare initial public offering of stocks on KOSDAQ this year and is expected to go public in early 2022.