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Female-founded biotech grabs $13M for innovative colour-coded surgery

innovative colour-coded surgery
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Earlier this month, we covered about a female-founded startup that raised €36 million for the development of future surgery robots. Now, another revoltionary startup by a female founder – this time from California – Alume Biosciences has secured $13 million in Series B financing for its product Bevonescein (ALM-488). It is a novel peptide-dye mixture which is used to highlight nerves with fluorescence in real-time during surgery. 

It is mostly used to study nerves during head and neck surgery. The product is in Phase 3 clinical trials at major academic hospitals across the U.S. The first patient was dosed with the product in 2022. 

Including $13 million raised in the Series B fundraising, an earlier Series A financing, and additional non-dilutive funding received through grants, the company has raised over $30 million to fund its clinical development program, advance its development portfolio, and support regulatory filings for its lead candidate.

“This is an important milestone for Alume. This funding brings us one step closer to improving intraoperative visualisation of nerves for patients undergoing surgery, enabling Precision Surgery” said Magda Marquet, a member of Alume’s Board of Directors.

Colour-coded surgery

ALM-488 is a proprietary fluorescent peptide-dye conjugate in the visible spectrum and can be visualized with fluorescently enabled instrumentation including filter modified loupe systems, portable handheld systems, microscopes and laparoscopes. ALM-488 binds to the extracellular matrix of nerves, allowing real-time nerve illumination during surgery. 

Further, ALM-488 is expected to have broad surgical application due to unique characteristics of binding that are independent of myelin, which is an insulating layer around nerves. This allows to highlight multiple types of nerves including motor, sensory, and autonomic. 

Additionally, ALM-488 highlights damaged nerves during reconstructive procedures. Surgeries, where nerves are potentially at risk, include procedures in the skull base, head and neck, and spine, and nerve sparing prostatectomy. Furthermore, in vivo studies indicate that ALM-488 is sufficient in terms of pharmacokinetics to be used for labelling ureters in urology, gynecology, and lower abdominal surgery.

Alume Biosciences is a late-stage clinical biotechnology company developing nerve-specific targeting molecules. Founded in 2017 by Quyen Nguyen, MD/PhD and headquartered in the Johnson & Johnson Innovation incubator, in addition to ALM-488, Alume is developing other nerve-specific agents for diagnostic and therapeutic indications. 

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