SURGE Therapeutics – a biotech company pioneering the delivery of immunotherapy during cancer surgery – recently announced the completion of a $32 million Series B financing led by Bioluminescence Ventures, with participation from KdT Ventures, Piedmont Capital, and existing investors 8VC, Alumni Ventures, Camford Capital, Cancer Research Institute, Intuitive Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Pitango HealthTech.
The funding round will be used to further the development of the SURGE intraoperative immunotherapy approach, expand the team, and advance multiple clinical trials for its injectable biodegradable hydrogel – which may be administered during any surgical oncology procedure. In connection with the funding round, Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., Managing Partner at Bioluminescence Ventures, will join SURGE’s Board of Directors.
SURGE Therapeutics recently dosed the first two patients in a Phase 1/2a trial for its lead intraoperative immunotherapy candidate STM-416 in patients with recurrent bladder cancer – a major unmet medical need – to improve post-resection outcomes. And SURGE’s intraoperative approach enables extended, localized release of immunotherapy at the site of surgical tumor resection. This intervention could prevent tumor relapse and induce systemic antitumor immunity, potentially eliminating existing micrometastases.
Reprogramming the body’s response to surgery from immunosuppressive to immunostimulatory could trigger the patient’s immune system to destroy local and distal residual cancer cells, reducing recurrence and improving survival. And in multiple aggressive murine models of metastasizing cancer, intraoperative immunotherapy vastly improved survival benefits relative to traditional routes of administration, whether systemic or local. Confirmation in patients could represent a major advancement in cancer care.
“The capital that we have raised to date will allow SURGE to generate proof-of-concept event-free survival data with our lead program and advance our second and third programs through Phase 1. Intraoperative immunotherapy is a platform approach that can potentially confer clinical benefit across multiple cancer types, using different molecules. Surgery is the standard of care for most patients with solid tumors, and it is common for a small number of cancer cells to remain behind. Our mission is to ensure that nobody grieves the loss of a loved one due to preventable post-surgical cancer recurrence.”
— Michael Goldberg, Ph.D., CEO & Founder, SURGE Therapeutics
“Currently, cancer surgery is a physical intervention only. Physicians typically do not administer any kind of immunotherapy during surgical tumor resection, which we believe is a missed opportunity, as post-surgical recurrence and metastasis account for 90 percent of cancer-related deaths. SURGE has a unique first-mover advantage in the intraoperative immunotherapy space to potentially improve patient outcomes and become the standard of care as a seamless complement to surgery. We are very excited about working with the SURGE team towards realizing this objective.”
— Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Bioluminescence Ventures