With more and more technology and medical info, cancer diagnostics has received significant upgrades over the years. However, even after the cancerous tumors had been removed, there often remains a tiny amount of hazardous cells which cannot be identified by current practices. An Israeli startup has developed a platform to solve this very problem, and has raised $100 million to get it done.
Ultra-sensitive cancer detection
Israeli startup C2i Genomics, which was founded by CEO and CSO Asaf Zviran, Ph.D., CFO Ezra Sofer, and CTO Boris Oklander, Ph.D., has developed a SaaS platform that combines AI pattern recognition and whole-genome sequencing to provide almost immediate and accurate detection of residual disease that is up to 100x more sensitive than competing technologies.
Following the removal of tumors from a patient’s body, standard oncologic practice involves using X-Ray and MRI machines to detect residual disease. However, these methods are limited to detecting tumors that reach a certain size; leading to patients potentially risking additional rounds of chemo or even additional surgeries following a recurrence.
This where C2i Genomics’ SaaS platform comes into action, providing physicians with a “liquid biopsy” - a sample of blood from which genetic data is taken. After mapping the patient’s genome, the data is uploaded to the C2i platform for further detection of residual cancer cells. The platform then alerts caring physicians with updated findings, helping provide data-backed insight into further treatment. The key advantage of this early-detection technology lies in what it helps prevent, including recurrence of the tumors, painful surgery, and even removal of limbs to stop the cancer from spreading.
The company’s technology is based on research from the New York Genome Center and Dr. Zviran’s own findings at Cornell University. The results of Zviran’s research were published in scientific journal - Nature Medicine. The platform is currently under clinical research at NYU Langone Health, Singapore’s Cancer Research Center, Aarhus Medical College in Denmark, and Lausanne University’s Faculty of Biology and Medicine. Nevertheless, despite the hype, don’t expect to see the company’s platform operational at the moment, as the company is still awaiting FDA clearance.
Founded back in 2019, the motivation behind the company’s solution stems from Zviran’s own story - as a cancer survivor himself, as well as witnessing family members go through the disease. “As a cancer survivor I founded C2i to help both patients and doctors manage care with the best information possible,” said Zviran.
The company’s $100 million Series B was led by Casdin Capital, which focuses investment in the medical industry; investing in companies like 23andMe, which is headed for a SPAC merger at a $3.5 billion valuation. The round also saw participation from Gigi Levy-Weiss’s NFX, Section 32 (a backer of Coinbase, Slack, and Uber), Singaporian fund iGlobe Partners, Driehaus Capital, and Duquense Family Office. C2i has raised $113 million to date, and is headquartered in NYC, with labs in Cambridge, Mass and an R&D center based in Israel.