May 10, 2022

$35 Million In New Funding For AI To Personalize Cancer Treatment

Original source here.

Israeli startup OncoHost announced today an upsized and oversubscribed $35 million Series C funding round, led by ALIVE Israel HealthTech VC, with the participation of Leumi Partners, Menora Mivtachim, OurCrowd and other existing investors.

Clinical trial results have shown OncoHost’s AI-powered precision oncology platform to have remarkably high accuracy in assessing non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient response at three months, six months and one year. Through one blood test pre-treatment, the company’s multi-patented platform also provides clinicians with potential combination strategies to overcome treatment resistance.

Last year, OncoHost CEO Dr. Ofer Sharon told me that “For immunotherapy, the most important treatment modality we have today, the response rate on average across all cancer types is about 20%. With all the promise of immunotherapy, if you have ten patients waiting in your waiting room with advanced cancer, only two will be alive in two years.”

OncoHost combines proprietary bioinformatics, signal processing, and machine learning to bring precision medicine to oncology via the relatively new field of proteomics. Understanding the proteome, the structure and function of each protein and the complexities of protein-to-protein interactions are critical for developing the most effective diagnostic techniques and disease treatments.

The proteomic profile resulting from OncoHost’s analysis of 7,000 proteins in the patient’s plasma is highly predictive of individual patient outcome, enabling personalized treatment planning. It also helps in identifying potential drug targets, advancing the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

In a recent OurCrowd webinar on “Investing in Precision Medicine,” Dr. Sharon observed that “most patients, unfortunately, are not responding to treatment, and the problem is that when you start treating your patient, you do not know which patient will respond or not. Sometimes up to six or even nine months into therapy. So we are wasting a lot of time, we’re wasting a lot of money. And most importantly, we are losing time for our patients.”

OncoHost’s precision oncology platform predicts the trajectory for the first 12 months of treatment and the company tests have shown that the predicted response and measured response meshed very closely. In addition, by mapping resistance, OncoHost can direct physicians to the right treatment pathways, and identify potential new combinations to mitigate resistance. “Obviously, a 78-year-old lady and a 45-year-old man are not the same patient,” Dr. Sharon says. “For me, the promise of this product is the ability to really find the right treatment for the right patient.”

The company’s target market of late-stage immunotherapy-treated cancer patients represents expenditure of about $6 billion, Dr. Sharon estimates. The proteomics market is expected to grow to $50 billion in 2027 from $21.1 billion in 2019.

“With promising and significant clinical results, OncoHost’s unique approach can create a brighter and better future for the world of precision oncology, maximizing the likelihood of selecting the correct therapy combinations and dramatically improving therapeutic results for cancer patients. We are confident that Oncohost is set to become a pivotal proteomics market leader in personalized oncology treatment,” Prof. Ari Shamiss, ALIVE’s co-founder and general managing partner, said in a statement today.

OncoHost continues to open additional clinical trial sites around the world and will be expanding its research to further cancer indications. PROphet, its precision oncology platform, is set to launch in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2022.