Sema4

In July 2020, Sema4 announced its Series C financing of $121 million. Sema4 is a patient-centered health intelligence company founded on the idea that more information, analysis, and engagement may improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Liquid Wire

In July 2020, Liquid Wire announced a Series A round financing of $10 million. The Company is focused on developing and manufacturing flexible wiring and components to enable electronic circuitry in wearables to be used in multiple healthcare applications, as well as industrial (including safety). These applications typically involve dynamic environmental forces, such as changing temperature, movement, and humidity while maintaining reliable and consistent conductivity.

Meditrina

In June 2020, Meditrina, Inc. announced a $20 million tranched Series C financing round. The Company is commercializing innovative medical devices for minimally invasive gynecologic procedures, offering patients and physicians more advanced, convenient, and cost-effective options.

ARTMS

In May 2020, ARTMS announced a Series A round financing of $19 million. ARTMS develops and commercializes diagnostic imaging isotopes, utilizing hospital and other medical cyclotrons. The Company’s technology enables cost-effective, decentralized, and local production of medical isotopes.

LetsGetChecked

In May 2020, LetsGetChecked announced a Series C round financing of $70 million. LetsGetChecked is a health insights company that allows consumers direct access to a wide range of testing options and clinical services from home. By combining health data and diagnostic results, LetsGetChecked provides rich health insights to enable better healthcare decision-making, empowering people to take an active role in their health.

Element Science

In March 2020, Element Science announced that it had raised a $145.6 million Series C financing. The Company is a health technology company pioneering a next-generation digital wearable platform focused on high-risk cardiovascular patients transitioning from the hospital-to-home.

Cathworks

In February 2019, Cathworks announced a $30 million Series B financing led by Deerfield. CathWorks is a medical technology company focused on applying its advanced computational science platform to optimize prophylactic cranial irradiation therapy decisions and elevate coronary angiography from visual assessment to an objective fractional flow reserve-based decision-making tool for physicians.

Epic Sciences

In September 2018, Epic Sciences announced a $52 million Series C financing in which Deerfield participated. The Company is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic Sciences’ mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient’s journey.

Genomics: How Next Generation Sequencing Might Play Out and the Implications for Precision Medicine

Precision medicine holds the promise of providing patients with therapies that target the biological mechanism contributing to a particular individual’s disease. Historically, the approach to developing novel medicines has lacked the ability to optimize therapy based on specific factors resulting in an individual patient’s disease state.

Although many drugs have been approved on the basis of clinical trials run in all patients with a disease, some patients enrolled in those trials have had a strong treatment effect while others had minimal to no effect due to biological diversity. With the advent of next generation sequencing (NGS), we now have the ability to understand the diversity of pathways and patient subsets that make up the broader diseased population. This affords the ability to develop therapies for a given patient that targets their specific genetic alteration.

Cancer has been a leading beneficiary of these advances. From a research perspective, biologists can now use next generation sequencing to identify mutations present in patient tumors. Many of these new insights have allowed researchers to further our understanding of cancer biology, although this is only the beginning to the development of targeted therapeutics. In addition to the identification of a novel mutation, researchers and clinicians must advance the science into clinical practice by validating the target through clinical trials in the relevant subset of patients.

This path to clinical validation runs counter to traditional drug development which typically require large trials to prove a drug is effective. With many patient subsets (or mutations) that might exist within a given cancer, it is typically not feasible to run large clinical trials. Yet, despite these challenges, a fundamental understanding of the biology and administration of appropriately targeted therapies has proven adequate by regulators to approve novel drugs. This has resulted in a rapid time to approval, bringing novel therapies to market in record time.

While NGS continues to hold tremendous promise toward the goal of precision medicine, there are a number of practical and technological challenges that currently limit broad applicability. Given the size of the human genome, there is a tremendous amount of data generated per sample of tissue. With existing sequencing technologies, performing whole genome sequencing can take 2-3 weeks due to the processing and interpretation of data. This is a challenge in the clinical setting since patients presenting with cancer may not tolerate a significant delay between diagnosis and therapy.

Additionally, while the cost of whole genome sequencing has come down over time, it can exceed thousands of dollars per sample making it prohibitive to adopt for all patients due to sheer cost. We anticipate that competition and improvement in technology will improve both the speed of a test result and cost thereby making it more accessible to the masses.

NGS also has technical limitations that limit broad clinical applicability. Genomic data derived from NGS technologies are descriptive and static representing a snapshot of the genetic mutations in a small sample of tissue. With cancer being a constantly mutating disease, it is important to keep up with the evolving genetic composition to optimize therapy over time. Additionally, a mutation in one tissue sample may not reflect the broad array of mutations present throughout the entire tumor.

A number of emerging technologies appear to have the potential to address these limitations. Liquid biopsy technologies can identify circulating genetic information, are non-invasive, and can provide a near real-time result, thereby holding the promise of a valuable monitoring and treatment optimization tool. There are also a host of functional genetic and cellular technologies that provide more detailed information as to which mutations are most importantly related to the process contributing to a given patient’s cancer. With the improvements of existing NGS technologies and introduction of novel technologies that can supplement our understanding of cancer biology, we are moving closer to the promise of precision medicine for all patients. Continued investment in the space holds the promise of making these technologies ubiquitous, low cost, and increasingly informative. Moreover, the speed at which novel biological insights can be tested and validated in the clinical setting are likely to increase rapidly as our knowledge of the underlying biology increases.

Afib treatment advances publish in prominent medical journals

Real-time feature of Acutus’ AcQMap results in improved patient outcomes

A clinical trial investigating Acutus’ AcQMap showed that this novel imaging and mapping system safely guided cardiac ablation resulting in a 12-month freedom from recurrent atrial fibrillation (AFib) in 73 percent of patients with persistent atrial fibrillation.

The results, published in the July 1, 2019 issue of the Journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology were first reported earlier this year in a late-breaking trial at the 24th Annual AF Symposium in Boston.

Known as UNCOVER-AF, the trial prospectively studied the safety and efficacy of the AcQMap in 127 patients at 13 sites in Europe and Canada – 98 percent of whom achieved a normal heartbeat upon completion of the procedure.

Characterized as an irregular heartbeat, AFib is the most common type of heart arrhythmia and could greatly increase a person’s risk of developing a severe stroke. Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can reduce the risk, yet traditional ablation procedures often fail to achieve long-term absence of AFib, resulting in repeat ablation procedures.

With its precision ultrasound and high definition re-mapping capabilities, AcQMap helps inform physicians in real time who can strive to improve outcomes by checking their work after each ablation.

Adapted from Acutus’ news release: Publication of UNCOVER AF Study in Circulation Demonstrates Impact of Charge Density Mapping During AF Ablation

Acutus has been a Deerfield portfolio company since 2016.  

Farapulse PFA shown as potential alternative to existing ablation procedures

A method of non-thermal field ablation demonstrated safety and efficacy in clinical trials comparing outcomes of the modality to those seen with traditional thermal approaches in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, or episodic AFib.

The results of the first-in-human trial were reported in an online early version of the manuscript that is slated to publish in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Called pulsed field ablation (PFA), the alternate modality was shown to successfully target heart tissue without damaging adjacent structures like the esophagus or phrenic nerve – a shortcoming of standard ablation therapies, including radiofrequency (via heat) and cryotherapy (by way of freezing).

In 81 patients, 100% of pulmonary veins (PV) were specifically isolated with three minutes of PFA time per patient. Furthermore, long-term remapping procedures demonstrated that the rates of durable PV isolation improved with successive waveform modifications with the most optimized PFA group demonstrating 100% durability.

The rate of primary safety events was low at 1.2%, and with no subsequent primary adverse events during follow-up.

Farapulse has been a Deerfield portfolio company since 2017.