Personalized Cancer Treatment
Barcode Diagnostics is developing a personalized cancer treatment tool.
Using proprietary technology, this tool quickly and reliably assesses the efficacy of different cancer drugs directly at the site of a tumor. As a result, physicians can match each patient with the most effective medication, improving cancer care.
Barcode Diagnostics has already completed pre-clinical trials, published its test results in scientific journals, and completed pre-submissions with the FDA.
Now, the company is raising capital through a Series A crowdfunding round, and will use the funds to prepare for a “First in Human” trial in 2020. Barcode Diagnostics aims to receive FDA clearance for its technology by 2022.
(Please note: This particular startup is raising funds from “accredited” investors only. An accredited investor is someone with a net worth of at least $1 million, or annual income of at least $200,000, or $300,000 with their spouse.)
The market for treating cancer patients is vast. In 2018, the global cancer diagnostics market was valued at $144 billion, and is projected to reach $249 billion by 2026.
Meanwhile, several companies targeting this market have achieved success by going public or getting acquired, including ones that completed Series A funding rounds at a similar stage as Barcode Diagnostics — for example:
Genomic Health (NASDAQ: GHDX), a company focused on genetic research for cancer detection, completed a Series A funding round at a $9 million valuation. Today it has a market cap of roughly $2 billion.
And InVitae Corp (NYSE: NVTA), a genetic testing company founded in 2010, completed a Series A round at a $6.6 million valuation, and went public in 2015 at a $391 million valuation.
As for Barcode Diagnostics, it’s developing the only precision medicine solution to provide drug efficacy analysis based on direct testing on a tumor inside patients.
You see, chemotherapy is often the standard of care for certain types and stages of cancer. But for each cancer type, there are multiple chemotherapy drugs available that doctors must choose between. For example, a patient suffering from Stage III breast cancer may receive one of 11 different chemotherapy treatments in hopes of fighting the disease.
As a result, 35% of cancer patients don’t receive the optimal treatment. This leads to wasted treatment time, unnecessary toxicity for the patient, and added costs to the healthcare system. Adding to these problems is the fact that CT scans can only determine the effectiveness of a given drug after 3 months of treatment.
Barcode Diagnostic’s technology, in contrast, can asses the effectiveness of several cancer medications in the body within 72 hours. Here’s how its solution works:
The technology is based on an encapsulation of cancer drugs in liposome nanoparticles that are paired together with corresponding DNA barcodes. These barcodes are used to identify the efficacy of a drug’s treatment.
Essentially, the mixture of drugs is injected into the bloodstream and reaches the site of the tumor. Then, within 72 hours, a biopsy and analysis will show which drugs are most effective in treating the patient’s disease.
In short, this solution enables doctors to test a patient’s responsiveness to a variety of chemotherapy drugs at the same time before deciding on a treatment plan.
Barcode Diagnostics developed its treatment tool using 100 nanometer liposomes loaded with various cancer drugs. When combined with DNA barcodes, a correlation was discovered between the body’s cell viability and the drugs it was exposed to. The company confirmed this correlation during a pre-clinical test of mice with breast cancer tumors.
To date, Barcode Diagnostics has completed nanoparticle encapsulation protocols for seven different drugs, each produced in accordance with FDA guidelines.
The company aims to complete its first human trial, and complete regulatory filing with the FDA, in 2020. The FDA has defined Barcode Diagnostic’s tool as a drug-device combination product.
Prior to starting Barcode Diagnostics, Ronen was a team manager at Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) that focuses on surgical systems and instruments. This company brings in more than $4.8 billion in annual sales.
While with Ethicon, he led drug and device development from early-stage testing to advanced clinical stages.
Ronen earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Hebrew University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT.
In addition to his duties with Barcode Diagnostics, Avi is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the Israel Institute of Technology. There, he heads the Laboratory for Targeted Drug Delivery and Personalized Medicine Technologies.
Throughout his career, Avi has received more than 30 national and international awards, including the Intel Nanotechnology and TEVA Pharmaceuticals awards.
He is the author of more than 45 research papers, and been awarded 17 patents.
He earned a Ph.D. from Ben Gurion University and completed post-doctoral studies at MIT.
Annie began her career as the Chief Technology Officer for MPT, a startup focused on non-invasive prenatal diagnosis.
Following that, she was a laboratory manager at Microvesicles Research Laboratory at Rambam Health Care.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology Engineering and a Ph.D. from the Genetics Department at the Israel Institute of Technology.
An Israel-based VC firm that invests in startups focused on life sciences and medical devices.