Spin-out company offering simple cancer testing raises investment capital

With novel methods for detection and quantification of cancer from a blood sample, SAGA Diagnostics offers molecular tests to identify targetable gene mutations, monitor treatment response, and detect metastatic cancer earlier. The new spin-out company from Lund University is now launched with funding from LU Innovation System.

SAGA Diagnostics AB is a cancer diagnostics and disease monitoring company offering laboratory services to pharmaceutical industry, healthcare, and academia. The methods used by SAGA Diagnostics allow detection and analysis of circulating tumor DNA in the bloodstream and other “liquid biopsies” with exceptional sensitivity. A regular blood sample reveals not only the presence of cancer but also the quantity of tumor-specific gene mutations that can help guide therapy. This non-invasive approach has significant advantages compared to tissue biopsy, which is commonly used for companion diagnostic testing today. Moreover, the innovative tests can even be applied to tissue biopsies themselves to identify mutations that are below the limit of detection of conventional methods.

Founder and CEO is Lao Saal, MD PhD, Assistant Professor at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, who has over 15 years international experience developing and applying advanced molecular genetic methods to understand cancer. He believes that their proprietary cancer diagnostic tests will lead to improved patient survival, quality of life, and at the same time reduce the cost of cancer care. The tests can also aid in the development of new targeted drugs and running clinical trials.

“The hope is that patients and physicians, through our efforts, will receive accurate and timely cancer monitoring and ultrasensitive companion diagnostics to enable the best-informed medical decisions,“ says Dr. Saal.

With a significant investment from LU Innovation System AB, Lund University’s holding company, SAGA Diagnostics is now formed and able to focus on building a strong and effective team. Joining Lao Saal is co-founder and CTO Anthony George, and Johanna Asklin from LU Innovation becomes Chairman of the Board.

“SAGA Diagnostics has highly competent and dedicated founders together with solid technologies. We are excited to be a part of this,” says Christine Widstrand, Vice President and Senior Advisor at LU Innovation System AB.

Learn more about the research: A blood test for early detection of breast cancer metastasis

About SAGA Diagnostics AB
SAGA Diagnostics AB
is a
cancer diagnostics and disease monitoring company, based on innovations in detection of cancer DNA. The focus is on companion diagnostics for tissue biopsies and “liquid biopsies” such as blood samples. SAGA Diagnostics AB offers laboratory services to the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare, and academia.

About LU Innovation and LU Innovation System AB
LU Innovation is the hub for innovation and commercialization at Lund University, working with the University's researchers and students to bring benefit and growth to society.
LU Innovation has two sections, one a part of the public authority and the other a holding company, LU Innovation System AB. The holding company can support newly founded companies both operationally and financially, and also own, manage and sell ownership shares of companies based on knowledge from Lund University.

Learn more, contact
Lao Saal, Founder and CEO SAGA Diagnostics:
Tel: + 46 (0) 70 888 5261
Email: lao.saal@sagadiagnostics.com

Johanna Asklin, LU Innovation, Chairman of the Board:
Tel: + 46 (0) 706 98 57 00 
Email: johanna.asklin@innovation.lu.se

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is regularly ranked as one of the world’s top 100 higher education institutions. The University has 41 000 students and 7 500 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

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About Us

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is regularly ranked as one of the world’s top 100 higher education institutions. The University has 41 000 students and 7 500 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

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