Israeli biotech startup OncoHost raises $35 million in funding to personalize cancer treatment using AI
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2017, every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, according to data from the Global Burden of Disease which estimates that 9.56 million people died prematurely as a result of cancer that same year. While cancer continues to claim millions of lives, scientists and researchers are also working on therapeutics and vaccines to prolong the lives of cancer patients.
One of the leading companies taking a different approach to combat cancer is Binyamina, Israel-based clinical-stage biotechnology startup OncoHost. OncoHost’s technology is used to characterize, analyze, and predict patient response to treatment, enabling personalized treatment strategies with improved outcomes & reduced side effects.
Unlike the current approaches, OncoHost is developing personalized strategies to increase the success of cancer therapy using artificial intelligence (AI) and match the right treatment to an individual cancer patient, increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy and reducing harmful side effects.
We covered OncoHost early last year after the five-year-old startup raised an $8 million Series B funding round to advance its AI-powered precision oncology platform and finance OncoHost’s ongoing clinical trials and open a US-based affiliate. Since then, the company has experienced enormous growth.
Today, OncoHost announced it has raised $35 million in a Series C funding round led by ALIVE Israel HealthTech VC, with the participation of Leumi Partners, Menora Mivtachim. OurCrowd, which also led Series B funding, and other existing investors also backed this round.
The oversubscribed funding will help support OncoHost’s mission to better predict response to immunotherapy and identify personalized treatment options for cancer patients, as it continues to expand our collaboration with pharma on clinical trials and drug development.
Founded in 2017 by Dr. Dror Yeger and Yuval Shaked, OncoHost is a clinical-stage precision oncology startup, that combines life-science research and advanced machine learning technology to develop personalized strategies for cancer patients. Clinical trials are currently focused on melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and will soon expand to other indications. OncoHost’s technology is used to characterize, analyze, and predict patient response to treatment, enabling personalized treatment strategies with improved outcomes & reduced side effects.
OncoHost said that the clinical trial results have shown its 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 OncoHost’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.”
In a statement, Prof. Ari Shamiss, ALIVE’s co-founder and general managing partner, said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Sharon estimates that OncoHost’s target market of late-stage immunotherapy-treated cancer patients is about $6 billion, Dr. Sharon estimates. Meanwhile, the overall proteomics market is expected to grow from $21.1 billion in 2019 to $50 billion in 2027.