Nanospectra Bio nets Sirtex backing for gold nanoparticle prostate cancer therapy

Sirtex Medical, maker of a radioactive microsphere implant for treating liver tumors, has made a strategic investment in the developer of a prostate cancer therapy featuring laser-charged gold particles, Nanospectra Biosciences.

The deal marks the first tranche of Nanospectra’s series B fundraising efforts, with Sirtex leading a $3 million investment alongside additional, unnamed backers of the company. The round’s total approved capital is set to reach $6 million.

Nanospectra’s particle therapy forms “a perfect complement to our technology approach and corporate strategic focus on minimally-invasive therapies,” said Sirtex’s general counsel and executive vice president for business development, Kevin Smith, who joined Nanospectra’s board of directors. 

The two companies have also agreed to exclusively negotiate for access to Nanospectra’s therapy in certain commercial regions outside the U.S.

Dubbed AuroLase, Nanospectra aims to provide selective thermal ablation of prostate tumors by saturating cancerous tissue with an infusion of gold and silica nanoparticles that convert laser light into heat.

According to the company, the nanoparticles are too big to pass from blood vessels into healthy tissue but are able to slip into a tumor through its leaky and malformed vasculature. Last year, Nanospectra presented data from its first-in-human trial, with 13 of 15 treated prostate lesions testing negative for signs of cancer after 12 months.

RELATED: Laser-charged gold nanoparticles destroy prostate tumors in first-in-human study

The company launched a pivotal trial this past February and has since expanded the study to sites at Duke University, the Mayo Clinic, Lenox Hill Hospital and the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute.

The series B proceeds will be used to help complete the ongoing study, which aims to enroll up to 60 people, and support Nanospectra’s regulatory filing for an FDA clearance, the company said.

RELATED: Sirtex accepts $1.4B buyout bid from Chinese consortium, expects to gain regulatory approval

"We are thrilled to welcome Sirtex Medical as a strategic investor due to their shared commitment and understanding of the clinical and patient benefits of minimally-invasive oncology therapies," Nanospectra CEO David Jorden said. 

"With established global operational capabilities and distribution, they are well positioned to advise on our commercialization efforts in both the U.S. and other geographies,” Jorden added.” We look forward to Sirtex's active engagement as we proceed with our clinical programs."