Durham medtech startup Xilis raises $70M; Google Ventures, Duke Angels among backers

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Xilis, a startup founded by two professors at Duke University focusing on technology to boost precision health and oncology, has landed $70 million in new funding with Google Ventures among the backers.

The two-year-old company had previously raised close to $5 million.

“Our vision is to transform cancer care in diagnostics and reshape drug development by providing a technology for rapid therapeutic profiling,” said Xiling Shen, founder and CEO of Xilis, in Thursday’s announcement.. “The support provided by these world-class investors is an important milestone for our journey to transform cancer care and dramatically improve patient survival by enabling personalized precision oncology and bringing transformative medicines to patients faster and with higher success rates.”

Xilis focuses on what it calls MicroOrganoSphere (MOS) technology to not only assist precision therapy delivery for cancer patients but also to accelerate drug discovery and development.


Xilis’ proprietary MicroOrganoSpher (MOS) technology consists of miniature patient tumors that capture the full microenvironment and heterogeneity and provides an automated and scalable solution. Using MOS and AI-driven algorithms, Xilis is developing a Xilis Response Score™ for the clinic, enabling oncologists to make informed and timely treatment decisions. Additionally, the MOS technology is speeding up development and clinical trials of cancer drugs by enabling analysis of authentic tumor microenvironments, high-throughput preclinical modeling, and clinical patient selection capabilities.

Mubadala Capital led the round.

The Duke Angel Network also participated.

LSP in Europe, Catalio Capital Management and previous nvestors Felicis Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Pear VC, KdT Ventures, and Alix Ventures also joined the funding.

Shen, David Hsu and Hans Clevers founded the company. Clevers invented the “organoid” technology and also is a venture partner at LSP. Shen and Hsu teach at Duke University.

“Since my lab invented organoids a dozen years ago, we provided proof-of-concept for many applications, yet the technology remained slow, complex, and expensive,” Clevers said in a statement. ” Together with LSP, I have been looking for enabling technology to unlock the full potential, and Dr. Shen and Dr. Hsu’s invention of the MOS technology has torn down those hurdles and will accelerate its use both in the clinic and for drug discovery and development.”

The funds will be used “to further advance Xilis’ proprietary MOS technology, expand its AI-driven capabilities, fund clinical studies for diagnostic development, and validate the use of MOS technology with biopharma partners,” the company said.

“Genetic approaches to cancer diagnostics continue to be impactful, and Xilis is creating meaningful pathways for its Precision Oncology Platform to improve cancer care for a broader set of patients,” said Google Ventures (GV) Managing Partner Krishna Yeshwant. “Xilis brings together experts in the fields of organoid development and precision medicine, and I’m excited to work with this impressive team as they continue to develop a breakthrough approach.”

Original Source: WRAL TechWire