Biotech company Allcyte today announced a seed round of $6m following a breakthrough clinical trial that proves its “functional” precision method works in the clinic.
In the ﬁrst-ever prospective interventional study of its kind, led by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna in collaboration with the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM), late-stage blood cancer patients who had exhausted all other care options shared live tissue samples for analysis by Allcyte’s Pharmacoscopy® platform. The subsequent cancer therapy recommendations provided by Allcyte’s platform proved effective for 55% of the patients who participated. Trial results were presented at the American Society of Hematology’s 2020 conference in December and will be published later this year.
Allcyte’s platform is able to predict highly effective cancer treatments in the clinic by taking live tissues from cancer patients, testing different drug types on those cells and visualizing the outcome under a microscope with single-cell resolution. The technique, originally developed at CeMM, applies advances in automated microscopy and AI-powered image analysis to quantify the effectiveness of different drugs on those cancer cells quickly and provide actionable information back to physicians. This is enabling them to recommend cancer therapies with a signiﬁcantly improved chance of success over standard of care in prior treatment lines.
Allcyte’s Pharmacoscopy® “functional” precision medicine approach is the ﬁrst of its kind capable of analysing drug reactions on both blood cancer and tumour tissue in a lab setting and predict which therapies will work best in the clinic. By measuring overall cell response to drugs, the process integrates different levels of biology, including genetics, gene expression but also the tumour microenvironment, to quantify the effectiveness of different drugs quickly, in real time, and provide actionable information back to physicians.
Allcyte’s system reﬂects an important departure from the prevailing approach to selecting cancer therapies by relying on a patient’s tumour DNA. Known as genetics-driven precision medicine, sequencing a patient’s cancer and suggesting treatments based on mutational biomarkers has not proven to be the silver bullet once hoped for. For instance, in a 2020 clinical trial, published in Nature, up to 90% of lung cancer patients who smoked did not respond to therapies proposed by a genomics-driven approach, even when treatment was matched to the correct biomarkers, likely because smoking added a level of complexity that genetics alone could not predict.
Pharma companies are also making use of Allcyte’s functional system to guide the drug discovery process. Allcyte is already earning revenue through partnerships with ﬁve of the world’s top 15 pharma companies. In time, the unique, rich and extensive data Allcyte collects from its diagnostic platform will help pharma companies target new pathways, generating enormous new opportunities in drug discovery.
The new $6 million seed round is led by 42cap, Air Street Capital, PUSH Ventures, Amino Collective, VP Venture Partners.
Nathan Benaich, General Partner at Air Street Capital says: “For a company at Allcyte’s stage to prove success in a clinical setting, and to have developed such sophisticated technology, is truly remarkable. We’ve seen a few companies working to tackle the enormous societal challenge of recommending better cancer therapies, but Allcyte stands out for the single cell resolution of its technology, which is essential for clinical translability. Its use of primary viable material, rather than substitutes like organoids, is also able to better capture the complexity of human tumour biology: this reduces the adaptation of tissues to culture conditions and unlocks the modelling of immune cell interaction with the cancer. Helping pharma companies develop better drugs, and helping clinicians recommend better therapies is both a breakthrough that will save lives and presents a signiﬁcant commercial opportunity.”
Nikolaus Krall, CEO and co-founder Allcyte: “The prevailing genomic approach to selecting cancer drugs by sequencing a patient’s tumour DNA has not proven to be the silver bullet that we once hoped it would be. The reality is that selecting the right drugs for patients - whether ﬁrst, second or third line - is inherently complex, with multiple factors at play. This clinical trial proves that functional precision medicine works: Allcyte’s mission is to be the gold standard for functional precision medicine amongst oncologists. In the near term, Allcyte’s platform will become the gatekeeper for all preclinical cancer drugs on their path to approval. Allcyte will help more pharma companies focus their energies and resources by prioritising the drug candidates most likely to succeed. In the future, Allcyte’s diagnostic product will enable any physician to choose the best drug to treat their patient’s disease, whatever the type of cancer. What’s more, the unique, rich and extensive data Allcyte collects from our diagnostic platform will in time help pharma companies target new pathways, generating enormous new opportunities in drug discovery.”
Allcyte is a Vienna, Austria-based biotech company. Our mission is to ensure that every cancer patient gets the best possible treatment. Our goal is to provide physicians with actionable insights on how to treat cancer patients with the right drug at the right time in situations where classical genetics-driven precision medicine does not give precise answers. We also enable pharma companies to choose the most promising drug candidates for clinical development in the right patient populations to maximize clinical study success rates and patient beneﬁt. We do this by measuring functional anticancer drug activity in viable, primary human patient tissues with our Pharmacoscopy® platform at the single cell level to gain a preview of their most likely clinical efﬁcacy.
For further information, please contact: pr(at)allcyte.com