€15M Seed Raised by Cure51: Unraveling the Enigma of Cancer Survival

Rather than grimly assembling data about cancer deaths to predict outcomes in treatment, the founders of Cure51 had another idea. Instead, the company assembles data about long term survivors of cancer, thus hoping to crack the code on what keeps people alive. It’s now raised a €15 million Seed round led by Paris-based Sofinnova Partners. Other investors in this round included: Hitachi Ventures GmbH, Life Extension Ventures, Xavier Niel, and Olivier Pomel, CEO, and co-founder of Datadog. Both had previously worked in five well-known oncology centers, such as the Gustave Roussy Institute in Paris and the Vall d’Hebronin Barcelona.

Instead of morbidly collecting data on cancer deaths to predict treatment outcomes, the founders of Cure51 had a different approach. They flipped the model on its head, gathering information on long-term cancer survivors in hopes of unlocking the secret to their survival. Thanks to a €15 million investment from Sofinnova Partners, the Paris-based startup will now work on compiling a comprehensive data “cohort” to understand why some cancer patients outlast the disease, even in its most aggressive forms.

The idea for Cure51 was sparked in March 2022 by co-founders Nicolas Wolikow and Simon Istolainen. Their backgrounds include stints at renowned oncology centers like the Gustave Roussy Institute in Paris and Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona.

Wolikow shared with me, “Many companies offer licenses to oncology databases, but those databases lack survivor data and lack the in-depth analysis we provide at the single cell and spatial levels. They also lack diversity in ethnic backgrounds.”

He went on to mention companies like Flat Iron (owned by Roche), Market Scan (owned by IBM), and Iqvia, which all offer basic databases with clinical and scarce genomic data. However, Wolikow believes that drug discovery requires molecular databases at multi-omics levels, which Cure51 is uniquely positioned to provide.

Sofinnova Partners’ Partner Simon Turner noted, “Investigating the mechanisms behind exceptional survival is not a new concept, but Cure51 is taking it to the next level with their extensive research and utilization of the latest analytical techniques.”

In recent years, the tech industry has increasingly focused on tackling cancer.

Alphabet, for instance, recently announced several initiatives utilizing AI in the healthcare industry. Among them is a tool that will use data from Fitbit devices to provide insights to users and a partnership in India to improve screenings for cancer and other diseases.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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