AI HealthTech startup Avenda Health lands $10 million Series B to advance prostate cancer treatment
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, according to The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2022. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States, behind only lung cancer.
About one man in 41 will die of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can be a serious disease without early diagnosis and treatment. It’s for this reason one startup has made it its mission to advance the early detection and treatment of prostate cancer.
Enter Avenda Health, an AI healthcare startup company creating the future of personalized prostate cancer care by innovating detection and treatment for prostate cancer care. Avenda Health’s technology leverages machine learning to map cancer and real-time sensing to deliver precise interventions in a doctor’s office. Using AI and two needles, a laser, and a sensor, a physician can use Avenda Health technology to ablate tissue with precision and monitor treatment progress in real-time.
Today, Avenda Health announced it has raised $10M in Series B funding to accelerate the use of iQuest, an AI-enabled patient management software that identifies and visualizes a patient’s prostate cancer. The round was led by VCapital, with participation from Plug & Play Ventures and Wealthing VC Club. The funding will also be used to continue clinical evidence development.
Founded in 2017 by CEO and co-founder Shyam Natarajan, Brit Berry-Pusey, Ph.D. (COO), Leonard S. Marks, MD (CMO), the Santa Monica-based Avenda Health uses deep learning to map a patient’s cancer in 3D, giving physicians precise information and the confidence to make care decisions.
Avenda Health has introduced technology that is innovating the men’s health industry to improve treatment and cancer mapping for prostate cancer care. The Avenda Health FocalPoint System powered by iQuest reimagines laser ablation with a system to treat prostate cancer in-office under ultrasound guidance while preserving the quality of life. The system spares healthy tissue by targeting only the tumor, which minimizes side effects, and uses patient-specific information and AI to deliver a precise and personalized treatment.
To better predict the extent of disease and support decision-making in cancer care, Avenda Health developed iQuest, which uses AI-deep learning to uncover cancer previously hidden within traditional MRI mapping and can be used by physicians to better plan treatments.
“Our company’s mission is to provide clinicians and their patients greater access to care while maintaining the quality of life that is often missing in prostate cancer treatment. Our technology is solving key issues in men’s health and we look forward to creating real change in prostate cancer care,” said Dr. Natarajan. “This funding will play a critical role in expanding the capability and reach of our technology while adding to our experienced team of Urology, medical device, and AI leaders.”
At the 2022 American Urological Association annual meeting, a retrospective study of 50 patients showed iQuest improved tumor encapsulation1 over conventional treatment planning from 56 percent to 80 percent2. In 2021, the company received Breakthrough Device Designation FDA clearance for the Avenda Health Focal Therapy System. The system was also voted the “Most Promising Ablative Technology” at FOCAL 2020: Focal Therapy Gauntlet, attended by top urologists from around the country.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Avenda Health’s journey in making incredible strides in the future of prostate cancer care, ” said Ryan Kole, Partner at VCapital. “Investing in something meaningful, innovative, and groundbreaking in men’s health is something VCapital is proud of.”
FocalPoint is FDA cleared for soft tissue ablation. iQuest and its use with FocalPoint are not FDA-cleared and are for investigational use only.