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Israeli startup Alpha Tau Medical raises $29 million for novel radiotherapy

por Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | September 07, 2018
Rad Oncology Radiation Therapy
Alpha Tau Medical, developer of Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Therapy (Alpha DaRT), has raised $29 million in private money in a round led by Israeli private equity firm Shavit Capital.

The late-stage investor was part of a round that included crowdfunding platform OurCrowd.com, Medison Ventures, and Sir Ronald Cohen and Alan Patricof, founders of Apax Partners.

"We are excited by the strong support provided by these distinguished investors," Alpha Tau's CEO Uzi Sofer said in a statement. "The funding will be invaluable to explore the full potential of the Alpha DaRT as a cancer treatment for clinical trials worldwide, as well as establish global production facilities for the radioactive DaRT seeds to meet local distribution demand."

The investment comes on the heels of the Massachusetts Radiation Control Program (RCP), in conjunction with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), approving Alpha DaRT cancer treatment as a Sealed Source and Device (SSD), and safe for clinical trials.

It is the first alpha radiation-based cancer treatment for various types of solid tumors, administering high-precision, soft-range alpha particles that effectively destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

The particles are inserted into the tumor using ultra-minimally-invasive applicators created to reach various types of tumors in different anatomic areas.

As the radioactive material inside decays, it releases alpha radiation inside the tumor, breaking the DNA in ways that destroy cancer cells.

“The Alpha DaRT applicators are designed to ensure that the Alpha DaRT seeds and the radioactive isotopes will be released only inside of the tumor in a way that will eliminate the risk of unnecessary exposure to the patient or the medical staff,” Amnon Gat, chief operations officer for Alpha Tau Medical, told HCB News in August. “The sealing mechanisms of the Alpha DaRT devices were tested under extreme environmental conditions that are required by ISO 2919, such as high temperature, pressure, impact and bending."

Early clinical trials have shown that Alpha DaRT is safe and effective for squamous cell carcinoma tumors – with all patients seeing tumor reduction and over 70 percent having tumors disappear within days of therapy.

"We are confident that Alpha Tau's groundbreaking technology can be a game changer in the treatment of cancer,”said Shavit Capital founder and managing partner Gary Leibler, stressing that the firm's experienced team had succeeded in forming “strategic relationships and trials with leading international medical research centers,” which position it to become a global power in next-gen cancer radiation therapies.

Meir Jakobsohn, the founder and CEO of Medison Pharma – one of the firm's first investors – added that his firm was “very optimistic about the Alpha DaRT's potential to activate the immune system and to become a valid treatment option for metastatic cancer.”

Clinical trials are now underway for Alpha DaRT using varied protocols across a number of cancers, including pancreatic, breast, head and neck, gynecological, and prostate.

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