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Combating cancer: French biotech Cure51 snaps €15M to transform treatments

Cure51 team
Picture credits: Cure51

While many startups work towards combatting cancer with early diagnosis or revolutionary treatment options, a French biotech startup Cure51 works with a different approach. Its mission is to create the first worldwide database of cancer survivors to leverage their exceptional biological features and find new drugs to cure Cancer.

Cure51 just snapped €15 million in a seed funding round led by Sofinnova Partners, which invested in Tenpoint Therapeutics and Moon Surgical. Other investors who contributed to this round include Hitachi Ventures GmbH, Life Extension Ventures, Xavier Niel, and Olivier Pomel, CEO, and co-founder of Datadog.

The funding will enable Cure51 to build a unique cohort, exploring the molecular processes. With these, certain cancer patients survive for very extended periods despite having highly aggressive forms of the disease.

First-of-its-kind database of cancer survivors 

Cure51 was founded in 2022 by Nicolas Wolikow and Simon Istolainen, alongside seasoned entrepreneurs and four world-renowned oncology centres – Gustave Roussy Institute (IGR, Paris – France), Leon Bérard Center (CLB, Lyon – France), Charité Universitätsmedizin (Berlin – Germany), Milan – Italy), and Vall d’Hebron (VHIO, Barcelona – Spain).

The company is creating what’s touted to be the world’s first global clinical and molecular database of cancer survivors. It focuses on individuals who defy statistics and survive even the most aggressive forms of cancer, including metastatic stage pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma.

Using its discovery platform powered by computational modeling, Cure51 aims to understand the biological mechanisms responsible for this exceptional survival by identifying and validating targets that can act on these interactions, leading to first-in-class treatments.

“This funding marks a pivotal moment in Cure51’s journey, but more importantly, in the path towards curing cancer,” said Nicolas Wolikow, Co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Cure51. 

“With this support, we are on our way to unlocking survival mechanisms and ultimately, saving countless lives,” added Simon Istolainen, Cure51 Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Scientific Network Officer.

“Looking at ‘mechanisms of exceptional survival’ is not a new concept, but Cure51 has taken this to a whole new level in terms of the scale of the endeavor plus leveraging the latest in analytical techniques,” said Simon Turner, Partner at Sofinnova Partners. “Cure51’s strong clinical network and ambitious team make this an investment we’re thrilled to support.”

“Modern AI models require world class datasets to uncover novel biology and discover transformative medicines, and this is what Cure51 is uniquely creating for cancer patients,” noted Joanna Soroka, PhD, Principal at Hitachi Ventures GmbH. 

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