$34M Funding Helps Speed Up New Class of Cancer Diagnostics

$34M Funding Helps Speed Up New Class of Cancer Diagnostics
InterVenn Biosciences has raised $34 million to commercialize a new diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, based on the identification of circulating proteins containing sugar molecules (glycoproteins). The company expects to validate the diagnostic tool intended for immediate clinical use and drive rapidly expanding partnership projects. The funding will also help accelerate the use of glycoproteins in other cancer indications. “I’m humbled but inspired by the task of driving glycoproteomics as a new diagnostic nomenclature to stratify patients, classify disease, and spawn new medical innovation,” John Leite, PhD, chief business officer of InterVenn, said in a press release. Protein glycosylation — the addition of sugar molecules, or glycans — is the most common and complex form of post-translational protein modification that cells use to adapt to environmental changes and other challenges. Abnormal protein glycosylation has been implicated in important steps of disease biology, including in cancer development, autoimmunity, and aging. As such, researchers can examine glycans and glycosylated proteins in patients to discover uniquely informative disease biomarkers. While glycoproteins have been difficult to study in the past, InterVenn has developed a platform that overcomes prior challenges. Its proprietary platform, VISTA, combines artificial intelligence and mass spectrometry (a technique that allows the identification of a substance’s components based on their mass) to analyze tumor-associated changes in circulating glycoproteins. This biomarker research product may be used in the pursuit of new solutions for over a dozen different oncology indications, including ovarian, pancreatic, liver, prostate, and kidney cancer. “InterVenn e
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