Pfizer backs biology-guided cancer radiotherapy startup in $46M Series B round

(RefleXion Medical)
The Reflexion System will enable simultaneous treatment of tumors throughout the body.--Courtesy of Reflexion Medical

Reflexion Medical has raised $46 million to develop the first biology-guided radiotherapy system that offers targeted cancer treatment. Last fall, the Hayward, CA-based startup said it had created a prototype device that was ready to go into the clinic. This Series B infusion is earmarked for expanding the company's engineering, regulatory and commercial groups.

Reflexion's biology-guided radiotherapy (BgRT) system uses both anatomic (computed tomography) and functional (positron emission tomography) imaging data to create personalized radiotherapy. Targeted cancer treatment can be delivered based on the patient's particular biology; that could enable delivery of a higher dose of radiation to cancerous lesions as well as more effectively spare the healthy tissue surrounding it.

Samuel Mazin, Reflexion president

"In just two years, the Reflexion team has mitigated the core technical risks in developing a disruptive biology-guided radiotherapy system," said Reflexion co-founder and President Dr. Samuel Mazin in a statement. "PET has been an effective tool to help diagnose and stage cancer using a radiotracer to map the higher metabolic activity of cancerous lesions. With this metabolic map, we could track multiple tumors in real time and precisely deliver targeted therapy based on that patient's individual biology."

Reflexion's BgRT tech is also expected to allow the introduction of novel PET tracers to tailor treatment based on relevant biological tumor characteristics such as tumor hypoxia, cellular proliferation, DNA synthesis and genetic markers.

The system is intended to address some of the deficiency of PET imaging--which takes minutes to create a quality image. That can pose a problem because of bodily motion such respiration and other bodily functions. Reflexion's system works to guide radiotherapy in real time, thereby enabling ongoing dose adaptation during radiotherapy treatment.

The latest financing was led by a new investor, family investment fund KCK Group. High profile existing investors including Pfizer ($PFE) Venture Investments, Venrock and Sofinnova Partners, which is Reflexion's largest shareholder, also participated. Nael Kassar and Greg Garfield from KCK joined the company's board as part of the financing.

Jay Watkins, Reflexion chairman

Earlier this year, Dr. Fred Moll joined the Reflexion board; he is the chairman and CEO of stealth, deep-pocketed robotic surgery startup Auris Surgical Robotics--and the co-founder and former CEO of robotic surgery player Intuitive Surgical ($ISRG).

"This major financing, along with the collective support, vision and guidance of Sofinnova Partners, Pfizer and Venrock, will allow the company to achieve the development and regulatory milestones preceding a commercial launch of this paradigm-changing technology," said Reflexion chairman Jay Watkins.

- here is the announcement