Xilis nets $70M to build out organoid-generating platform for cancer treatment, drug development

Cancer cells
Xilis’ MicroOrganoSphere technology replicates a tissue sample into thousands of miniature models of a cancer patient’s tumor cells, allowing healthcare providers and drug developers to identify the most promising treatments for each individual patient. (koto_feja)

Though the central premise of cancer treatment is to eliminate any and all evidence of a tumor, Xilis’ approach begins by creating thousands of more replicas of a patient’s cancer cells to inform the treatment decisions that will ultimately rid those cells from the body.

That approach is powered by Xilis’ MicroOrganoSphere technology, or MOS, which uses a tissue sample from a cancer patient to recreate minuscule models of their tumors. The technology has been proven in studies to replicate the unique tissue structure, gene expression and immune microenvironment of the original tissue samples with almost total accuracy.

Once the organoids have been created, they can be tested with a wide-ranging variety of treatments to gauge an individual patient’s response to each one, then select the best possible option for their unique cellular makeup. That entire process takes just about 10 days from biopsy to drug selection.

The platform can also be used in drug discovery and development, since the tumor models can be studied to pinpoint new biomarkers and tested with potential new treatments throughout the research and development process.

To further develop the MOS platform and get it into the hands of more clinicians and drug development teams, Xilis has raked in an impressive $70 million in its series A funding round.

RELATED: Grail launches long-awaited Galleri blood test, its groundbreaking multi-cancer screening diagnostic

The round was led by Mubadala Capital. New and existing investors also joined in, including Alphabet’s GV, Felicis Ventures and European healthcare investor LSP, among a handful of others.

In its efforts to build out the MOS technology, Xilis will use the financing to expand the use of artificial intelligence algorithms throughout the platform’s analyses, support clinical studies of the system’s efficacy and continue partnering with biopharmaceutical companies to validate the platform’s drug discovery and development abilities.

“There is a critical need for technologies that can help clinicians determine the most optimal therapy for their individual patients,” said Mubadala Capital’s Ayman AlAbdallah. “Patients will benefit greatly from Xilis’ precision medicine assays by avoiding time spent on treatment cycles that are ineffective, and instead receive therapies with the greatest potential of success quickly and efficiently.”

AlAbdallah added, “The Xilis Precision Oncology Platform is a cost-effective, outcomes-driven advancement that will help reduce the global burden of oncology costs.”

RELATED: GE Healthcare, Sophia Genetics tag-team cancer care with patient-treatment matching tools

The series A—an exponential increase from the North Carolina-based company’s previous $3 million seed round—comes shortly after Xilis presented data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

In one study, researchers proved that the MOS technology was able to create the tumor models, which the company calls micro-organospheres, in a much faster and more cost-effective way than traditional organoid generation technologies, making it a viable option for both diagnostic and drug development uses.

Other study results presented at the meeting demonstrated how single-cell analyses had proven the technology’s ability to create virtually identical copies of tumors caused by lung, ovarian, kidney and breast cancers. Xilis is also currently studying the platform’s ability in building models of colon and rectal cancers.