Clinical-stage biotech company Lantern Pharma Inc. has raised $3.7 million in Series A funding led by BIOS Partners, GPG Ventures and other private investors. Using big data and artificial intelligence, Lantern Pharma focused exclusively on accelerating the cancer drug approval process.
The startup plans to utilize the funding to continue development of its two lead drug candidates and further the advancement of its big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform. Lantern’s strategy focuses on identifying partners or acquiring late-stage clinical drugs that show efficacy in a small number of patients. These abandoned drugs are ‘rescued and repurposed’ using molecular profiling to identify the patients who respond favorably to treatment. Responding patients are screened for a biomarker, stratified and treated in a narrow scope of clinical trials. This process of targeting certain genomic profiles creates truly targeted therapies and addresses a significant unmet need in the cancer market.
The company’s lead clinical-stage drug candidate Tavocept® (LP-300) has previously shown clinical efficacy in a sub-set of non-small cell lung cancer patients in combination regimens. Its second program LP-184 has demonstrated promising early anti-tumor activity for multiple solid tumors, especially gynecologic tumors, and a favorable safety profile, and has the potential to be a best-in-class product. Lantern has identified predictive biomarkers for both Tavocept and LP-184 using its proprietary techniques combining advanced genomics, big data and AI-based algorithms.
“Oncology compounds have undergone tremendous advancements in design, but have lacked the systematic analysis leveraging big data and precision trial design and testing, which has led to inefficient processes and lackluster approval rates,” said Dr. Arun Asaithambi, co-founder and CEO of Lantern Pharma. “At Lantern we are developing targeted biomarker panels that can precisely sub-type patients based on the ability to be responsive to a treatment. Then by incorporating that into the selection and testing process, we can save years and tens of millions of dollars, thereby, making treatments more personalized and accessible. We believe this will lead to better outcomes, efficient and faster drug development.”
Lantern out-licensed its first program Irofulven-1 for a total of up to $20M to a European pharma company. Additionally, Lantern was issued an $800,000 collaborative ICIP grant funding. Recently, the company initiated collaborations with genomics diagnostic leaders, Cancer Genetics Inc, for genomic data access, laboratory testing and analysis services.