Alpheus Medical Raises $14M, Starts Clinical Trial
Chanhassen-based Alpheus Medical has raised $14 million to advance its development of sonodynamic therapy (SDT) to treat large aggressive brain tumors.
Founded just a year ago, in 2021, Alpheus specializes in researching brain cancer treatment through SDT. Along with the recent raise, the company also announced the treatment of three patients in the first phase of a clinical trial.
SDT is a non-invasive procedure that uses low-intensity, large-filed ultrasound to target cancer cells in the brain. This procedure is used to treat a number of cancers, including glioblastoma, which is a deadly type of brain cancer with a low survival rate of 6.8% after 5 years. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved four drugs and one device to treat this type of cancer.
This new funding follows a $16 million Series A raise last year and comes from existing investors: Medtech Convergence Fund, Action Potential Venture Capital, OrbiMed Advisors, and an SV Health Investors venture fund, as well as the American Cancer Society’s impact investment and venture capital arm, BrightEdge.
“I think it just really shows investor confidence,” said Dr. Vijay Agarwal, a trained brain tumor surgeon and CEO of Alpheus Medical. “We’ve had a very successful preclinical program and looking at the promise of the technology really led them to nearly double the investment.”
Alpheus will use the new round of funding to expand its human clinical trials across the United States and into Europe, Agarwal said. The team will also be able to research other non-brain, solid body cancers.
Last July, the FDA granted Alpheus Orphan Drug and Fast Track Designations, which focuses on the development of new therapies for rare medical diseases or conditions. It establishes a connection between the FDA and the company early on in the development process.
Currently, the clinical trial is planned to enroll up to 33 patients with gliomas, which are tumors that occur in the brain and spinal cord. These studies are taking place at three sites, including Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital in New York, Washington University in St. Louis, and Dent Neurologic Institute in Buffalo, New York.
“Brain cancer is a diffuse disease and requires a diffuse solution,” Agarwal said. “We have to start thinking outside of the box with how we tackle brain cancer and we’re excited to continue to fight and to help push the field forward.”