What You Should Know:
– SURGE Therapeutics (SURGE) recently announced the completion of a $26 million Series A financing led by Camford Capital, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Intuitive Ventures, Pitango HealthTech, 8VC, Alumni Ventures, and the Cancer Research Institute.
– The funds will be used to accelerate the development of the SURGE™ intraoperative immunotherapy approach, expand the team, and initiate clinical trials for its injectable biodegradable hydrogel.
Using Intraoperative Immunotherapy to Expand Horizons in Surgery
SURGE Therapeutics (The Intraoperative Immunotherapy Company™) seeks to dramatically improve cancer patient survival by disrupting how, when, and where cancer immunotherapy is deployed.
While surgery is the standard of care for patients with solid tumors, surgery can lead to the return and spread of the cancer. Such recurrence and metastasis are very challenging to treat, so the ability to prevent them from manifesting would be highly desirable. To this end, SURGE is developing immunotherapies that can be injected directly into the site of tumor resection (intraoperative immunotherapy), to improve cancer patient survival and, ultimately, the standard of care.
Built upon groundbreaking research conducted in founder and CEO Dr. Michael Goldberg’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, the SURGE Therapeutics™ injectable biodegradable hydrogel enables extended, localized release of cancer immunotherapy at the site of surgical tumor resection. In multiple aggressive murine models of metastasizing cancer, intraoperative immunotherapy vastly improved survival benefit relative to traditional routes of administration, whether systemic or local. Dr. Goldberg completed his PhD and post-doctoral training at MIT under the mentorship of Robert Langer and Phillip Sharp, respectively.
The proprietary hydrogel has been shown to reduce post-surgical recurrence and metastasis, which account for 90 percent of cancer-related deaths and have been linked to the immune suppression caused by surgery. Reprogramming the body’s response to surgery from immunosuppressive to immunostimulatory can trigger the patient’s immune system to destroy both local and distal residual cancer cells, reducing recurrence and improving survival. “SURGE seeks to radically redefine the process of care for cancer patients, creating a simple and effective treatment that could potentially be administered during any surgical oncology procedure. SURGE’s novel approach has the potential to usher in a new pillar of cancer immunotherapy that could markedly enhance survival outcomes,” said Robert Langer, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, SURGE Therapeutics.
“Even after a tumor has been removed, it is common for a small number of cancer cells to remain behind, whether at the site of the primary tumor or elsewhere in the body. Indeed, 40% of cancer patients who undergo surgery relapse within five years, so this is a major unmet medical need,” said Dr. Michael Goldberg, CEO & Founder of SURGE Therapeutics. “I left my faculty position at Harvard to focus full-time on developing this innovation, which we believe will improve the standard of care for cancer patients. The Series A financing enables us to advance our proprietary intraoperative immunotherapies into clinical trials so that nobody has to grieve the loss of a loved one owing to cancer recurrence after surgery.”
“At Intuitive Ventures, we look for companies taking minimally invasive care to the next level – SURGE is in the process of putting powerful immunotherapies into the hands of surgeons at a moment of great potential impact for cancer patients,” said Dr. Oliver Keown, M.D., Managing Director of Intuitive Ventures. “We are excited to work alongside Michael and his world-class team as they pioneer the field of localized therapeutics strategically placed and timed to enhance treatment for cancer patients.”
The SURGERx™ platform is designed to improve the efficacy and safety of immunotherapy treatment, concentrating 100 percent of the effective dose where and when it can yield tremendous impact. It also increases the number of addressable patients for highly potent molecules that are currently limited to treatment of accessible lesions via intratumoral injection.