NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – VisionGate today announced it has raised $1.96 million in the first tranche of a financing round and forged two collaborations to evaluate its automated 3D cell imaging platform for the early detection of lung cancer.
The $1.96 million tranche is part of a targeted $3 million equity round and will be used for further clinical development of its technology. Participants included undisclosed new and existing investors.
The Phoenix-based firm also said that it has inked a deal with Sheba Medical Center to evaluate whether its LuCED technology can reduce the number of false positives test results when used with X-ray computed tomography screening for early lung cancer. The LuCED test is used with VisionGate's Cell-CT automated 3D cell imaging platform, which generates high-resolution biosignatures from intact cells from sputum samples.
VisionGate's proprietary predictive analytics are used to analyze the biosignatures to indicate whether cancer cells are present or absent.
According to the company, the National Cancer Institute's National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated that low-dose helical CT screening of high-risk individuals reduced lung cancer-related deaths by 20 percent compared to standard chest X-rays. However, the approach has a high false-positive rate, and in the NCI study more than 96 percent of the positive results from low-dose CT screening over three rounds of testing turned out to be false-positives, VisionGate said.
VisionGate's collaboration with Sheba Medical Center will assess the LuCED technology along with other non-invasive methods to see if they can be used along with X-ray CT lung cancer scans to improve false-positive results.
Nir Peled, head of the Thoracic Cancer Research and Detection Center at the university, is performing a study of 200 patients with pulmonary nodes detected with X-ray CT scans where the diagnosis is unclear.
Additionally, VisionGate is partnering with Paul Zarogoulidis, a pulmonary physician at G. Papanikolaou General Hospital, Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece to evaluate LuCED for use as a primary screen for 200 lung cancer patients who have undergone surgery and are at risk for developing second primary cancers.
Terms of the two deals were not disclosed.
"We believe our strategy of establishing multiple collaborations to assess promising applications for the LuCED platform will provide us with important data and invaluable insight into the potential broad utility of this important new diagnostic technology," VisionGate President Scarlett Spring said in a statement.