David Darling joined Pacific Edge as the start-up CEO to lead the company to find a better way to detect cancer. We recognised the poor performance of the tools and technologies used at the time and our blue sky hypothesis was that, since tumours express genes differentially to normal cells, we could define the gene signatures of different types of cancers.
Our hypothesis and technology development led to Cxbladder – a disruptive technology, where non-invasive gene tests accurately detect the patient’s cancer, an early front runner of precision medicine.
Cxbladder technology uses a proprietary system to test gene markers in a patient’s urine. The results, combined with the patient’s clinical characteristics, allow doctors to detect bladder and other urinary tract cancers without invasive procedures. The system enables patients and doctors to quickly understand if they are dealing with a case of cancer or not – avoiding unnecessary procedures and anxiety.
Under David’s tenure, Pacific Edge has grown from a research concept to a global, molecular diagnostics company, with four proprietary products generating more than $10 million of revenue – and an extensive patent portfolio, covering five cancers.
Pacific Edge has two proprietary regulatory approved laboratories, one in the US and one in New Zealand, with commercial diagnostic operations in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and the US.
In 2020, despite the pandemic, Pacific Edge reached two transformational commercial milestones: a commercial agreement with the US’s largest not for profit integrated healthcare provider, Kaiser Permanente; and reimbursement coverage by the US’s CMS, the national healthcare insurance provider for all US citizens over 65 years of age.
As a result, in September 2020, Pacific Edge entered the NZX50 small market cap ranked 38, with a market cap of $900 million.