ASV Insights presents the Top 10 Deals of 2023 where we will look at how recent major successes reflect the latest trends in women’s health and sexual health.
In May of this year XinThera, a breast cancer therapeutics startup, was acquired by Gilead, a leading biopharma company in the US. Gilead did not disclose the price of the deal, however; XinThera previously raised $50 million in an August 2021 series B, bringing its total raise, at that time, to $80 million.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the world, accounting for 12.5% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide. It is also the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. The breast cancer market is expected to reach $54.7B by 2032. Among many factors stimulating market growth, favorable insurance and reimbursement policies are driving innovation in the space.
From an innovation perspective, breast cancer can be tackled in a few different ways. Breast cancer start-ups fall into 3 categories: therapeutics, screening tools, and disease management.
To start, the therapeutics market targeting breast cancer is massive and there is no question around the value in creating treatment options for a disease that claims 700,000 lives a year, globally.
Early detection is also critical to improving outcomes, yet current screening technology is far from effective. Mammograms, the gold standard breast cancer detection method, cannot accurately screen women with dense breast tissue. 40% of women have dense breast tissue and BIPOC women have 40% to 51% higher odds of high density breast tissue. Additionally, mammograms are not routinely performed until a patient reaches their 40s, while breast cancer can develop as early as age 25.
To address these gaps in breast cancer detection, early stage companies are developing at-home screening devices, risk-assessment questionnaires, and AI algorithms that pair with mammograms to improve screening capabilities.
The third category of start-ups, targeting breast cancer, are disease management platforms. Some examples include Thyme Care, which just closed a $60M Series B, and Tria Health, both of which are digital health companies helping patients manage chronic conditions.
The acquisition of XinThera exemplifies one of many high value therapeutics deals in the women’s health space. In recent years, multiple startups focused on breast cancer have succeeded in securing VC funding.
Some early pioneers that are leading the charge include:
Breast Cancer Therapeutics
RNA Nanotherapeutics – Seed – A University of Cincinnati Venture Lab-backed startup developing cancer-targeting multifunctional RNA nanoparticles to treat breast cancer.
Andira Pharmaceuticals – Seed – Andira uses translational research techniques to optimize treatments to address Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Veana – Seed – Veana Therapeutics is a biotech company developing safe and effective oral medicines that selectively kill cancer cells, starting with breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Detection Tools
Gabbi – Seed – A breast cancer risk assessment and care navigation tool that relies on claims data and user provided information to assess a patient’s risk of breast cancer.
Dot Plot – Pre-Seed – Dot Plot is a handheld device and app that maps a user’s chest and takes readings of their breast tissue using sound waves.
Vara – Series A – Vara pre-screens normal mammograms with AI technology creating a highly-optimized breast-screening-compliant viewer for hospitals and radiologists.
As we see more examples of late stage breast cancer focused companies; we predict that more VCs will fund early stage companies in the industry, causing a much-needed eruption of innovation in the space.