Dallas-based Lantern Pharma Inc., a biotech company focused on accelerating cancer drug approval processes using big data and artificial intelligence, has closed its Series A equity financing of $3.7 million. The healthcare startup, which was a graduate at Health Wildcatters, had the deal finalized by BIOS Partners, GPG Ventures, and other private investors.
Lantern plans to use the funds to continue developing two drug advancement projects and further advance its business platform. The company will focus on identifying partners or acquiring late-stage clinical drugs. The late-stage clinical drugs are “rescued and repurposed” by Lantern through molecular profiling to identify patients who will respond favorably. These patients are then screened for a biomarker by genomic testing to create a unique and more effective cancer therapy treatment.
According to Lantern, the company has been following this business model to rapidly develop and commercialize its programs through out-licensing and collaborative partnerships. So far, the company has out-licensed its first program for $20 million to a European pharmaceutical company. Lantern has also recently initiated new partnerships with genomics diagnostic companies like Cancer Genetics Inc. and AI Intuition Systems to increase genomic data access, laboratory testing and analysis, and cloud support.
Dr. Arun Asaithambi, co-founder and CEO of Lantern, says current cancer treatment drugs have undergone tremendous advancements in design, but have lacked systematic analysis leveraging big data and testing to get approved for use. “[Here,] we are developing [tailored drugs with biomarkers to] precisely sub-type patients based on the ability to be responsive to a treatment,” he said. “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.”
Hubert Zajicek, CEO and president of Health Wildcatters, where Lantern was incubated, says
its use of a smarter approach, leveraging big data, AI, and genomic testing is quite impressive. “The thought that many life-saving drugs that have been abandoned could be brought back on track with the development process and make it to patients is exciting,” Zajicek told D CEO Healthcare. “Health Wildcatters is proud to be a part of this company’s success.”