CHF 150’000 to advance personalised cancer therapy options

4iLabs, a spin-off from the University of Zurich, is developing a diagnostic toolbox to support clinicians in the therapy decision-making process for patients with progressed cancer beyond the standard of care. The company has won CHF 150’000 in the Venture Kick finale. The funds will accelerate product development.

The molecular processes underlying a patient’s cancer are often unique. Currently, next-generation sequencing (NGS) is often used to analyze the genetic information from biopsies to inform clinicians on the use of specific cancer therapies. However, even with NGS-guided therapies, patients can relapse—contributing to the long-term low cancer survival rate of around 50%.

Founded by Gabriele Gut and Lucas Pelkmans4iLabs addresses this gap by developing a diagnostic toolbox to support health care professionals in the therapy decision-making process for patients with progressed cancer beyond the standard of care, for whom genetic testing holds limited actionable information. Its patented 4i technology (Iterative indirect immunofluorescence imaging) generates highly multiplexed images of biological samples to get a more in-depth and more efficient molecular view of tumours than with existing processes.

The 4iLabs platform comprises two products to date: Oriflamme diagnostics report (OR) and DeepTissue Phenotyping services (DTP). OR is a diagnostics report that provides clinicians with evidence-based therapy recommendations for each patient, based on the multiplexed molecular drug response of their biopsied cancer cells. DTP is a multiplexed tissue imaging service that, unlike others, measures the abundance and distribution of dozens of proteins at very high throughput. It is, thus, uniquely capable of studying large patient cohorts simultaneously. In conjunction with an AI-powered analysis, DTP will help to characterize drug-related tissue changes, propel biomarker discovery, and improve cancer diagnoses.

The startup targets scientists in pharma and academia and clinicians in multiple fields, including such as drug discovery, target identification and validation, cancer assessments, and AI-powered digital pathology efforts for biomarker discovery. The startup targets cancer-related industries that are expected to become a USD 40 billion market in the next four years.

The newly obtained CHF 150’000 funds from Venture Kick will enable the company to accelerate the clinical development of 4iLabs’ diagnostic toolbox.

In total, Venture Kick has financed 15 start-ups with CHF720k in October alone. The 15 companies are coming from medtech, AI, ICT and engineering.  

(Press release)