Lausanne-headquartered Hedera Dx is pioneering the adoption of liquid biopsy in cancer treatments. The biotech startup has just raised €14 million to push forward its mission of bringing better access to cutting-edge treatments to patients around the world.
Cancer. One of the world’s most prevalent and devastating illnesses, it’s reported that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Early detection of the disease is critical for treatment options but too often it goes unnoticed. Hedera Dx, a Swiss biotech startup, was developed specifically to bring about a paradigm shift – one that enhances cancer detection capabilities and gives people more chances of successful treatment. The team has just picked up a new capital investment to fuel its impact-driven mission.
Today, the Swiss innovators announce the raise of €14 million in seed funding. The round was led by Adam Ghobarah, founder of Top Harvest Capital and former longtime executive at Google and Google Ventures, with Inventure, Air Street Capital, Amino Collective and GRIDS Capital also participating.
In addition to launching commercially this autumn, the company will use the funding to implement the first phase of a large oncology Real World Evidence (RWE) clinical testing program.
Tommi Lehtonen, Co-founder and CEO of Hedera Dx: “We’re beyond excited to launch Hedera Dx and to work with investors who share our vision of providing life-saving information for cancer patients. The adoption of liquid biopsy testing and the information from these analyses will also take our understanding of cancer to the next level and unlock new possibilities in cancer care. With our funding, we can bring a liquid biopsy solution for in-house laboratories to the market and make a clear impact on clinical practice.”
Improving patient access to treatment
Founded in 2021 by Tommi Lehtonen, Damien Lapray and Christian Meisel, Hedera Dx is taking a pioneering new approach to cancer treatment – the use of liquid biopsies. It centers around a blood-based testing solution to profile cancer DNA circulating in the blood, helping patients access better treatments. Hedera Dx wants to give access to this treatment to patients at risk of or already suffering from cancer.
To make sure patients get access to the best treatments, tumours need to be analyzed on a molecular level. However, the current methods have limitations (e.g. IVD compliance and validation are challenging to achieve and existing software workflows still represent the bottleneck). In addition, for up to one-third of patients diagnosed with lung cancer, obtaining a traditional tissue sample is not possible, which may prevent patients from receiving therapies targeted to their specific tumour’s makeup. This is what the liquid biopsy solution aims to overcome.
The process radically streamlines the process of finding the right regulatory-approved therapy for each cancer patient, enabling hospital labs to run clinically actionable liquid biopsies in-house.
Hedera Dx Co-founder and CMO Christian Meise: “I am proud that we enable hospital laboratories and oncologists to offer hope and new treatment possibilities for patients coping with cancer, helping them and their families to thrive and lead a better and longer life.”
Due to the numerous hurdles for hospital laboratories, the clinical adoption of liquid biopsies has been limited. Hedera Dx will be providing a combination of an in-house laboratory assay and an end-to-end software registered as an IVD medical device, Hedera Prime, to overcome all these hurdles with one seamless solution.
After a straightforward onboarding, laboratories can start running liquid biopsies using a laboratory assay and the Hedera Prime software, having a streamlined workflow through analytics, reporting and therapy options.
In parallel, the company will launch an associated Real World Evidence (RWE) program, looking to create a landmark data asset on the real-world usage of liquid biopsy and related cancer patient outcomes, which will help unleash the potential of this promising type of biopsy in cancer care.
Adam Ghobarah, Founder at Top Harvest Capital: “We were impressed by both the Hedera Dx team and vision to introduce a global platform for liquid biopsy tests that will ultimately save lives in the long run. The use of liquid biopsy tests in early detection, therapy selection, and recurrence monitoring is crucial to push cancer care forward. Hedera Dx will be fulfilling a critical role in bringing ML-based diagnostics to mainstream clinical care at scale.”