SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GRAIL, a cancer diagnostic company focused on developing a blood test for early-stage cancer detection, announced today that it has appointed Jeff Huber, a former Google executive, as chief executive officer. GRAIL is building on “ultra-deep sequencing” science and technology developed at Illumina, Inc. The Company also announced it has secured additional Series A financing from GV, formerly known as Google Ventures.
Over the last two decades, Huber led the development of large-scale systems at Google, eBay and Excite@Home. He led development of Google’s advertising products and Google Apps, and ran Google’s Geo division, including Google Maps and Google Earth. During the past two years, Huber worked at Google X, focusing on life sciences projects in big data and informatics. He was a member of Illumina’s board of directors from 2014 to 2016.
“Jeff helped Google map the world, and he’ll help us map the molecular biology of the microscopic cancer DNA that might be circulating in our blood,” said Jay Flatley, chairman of the board of GRAIL and chairman and chief executive officer of Illumina. “We believe this effort has the potential to save millions of lives, and convert cancer to a curable disease for many through early detection.”
Detecting cancer at the earliest stages has the potential to dramatically increase long-term survival. Therefore, successful development of a screening test for asymptomatic individuals could make a major dent in global cancer mortality.
“Improving cancer detection is a personal mission for me. My wife, Laura, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, but despite a valiant battle and state-of the-art-treatment, her late-stage cancer diagnosis was a death sentence,” said Huber. “Our current healthcare system isn’t designed to identify people like Laura who have no family history or contributing risk factors. GRAIL’s mission is to develop a test that can help physicians detect cancer early enough to enable curative treatment before it’s too late.”
Huber holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from Harvard University. In addition to Illumina, he is a member of the board of Electronic Arts (EA) and The Exploratorium.
GRAIL is focused on detecting cancer at an early-stage, when it can be cured. The company secured over $100 million in Series A financing from Illumina, Inc. and ARCH Venture Partners, with participating investors including Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates, Sutter Hill Ventures, and GV. GRAIL’s unique relationship with Illumina provides it with the ability to economically conduct the ultra-deep sequencing necessary to create a screening test with the required sensitivity, specificity and accuracy never before achievable for cancer screening. For more information, visit http://grailbio.com/.
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