Scottsdale biopharma startup developing new cancer therapies wins pitch competition

biopharma startup

Scottsdale-based Systems Oncology, a biopharma startup, won the biopharma track of the Pitch Perfect competition held at the MedCity INVEST Conference.

Systems Oncology was founded in 2015 with the desire to develop therapies that can overcome cancer’s resistance to some drugs and offer patients long-lasting treatment. 

The company’s AI platform, Expansive AI, analyzes cancer genomes and mines datasets. A single human genome has about 3 billion base pairs, and each of those base pairs undergo millions of changes as the genome evolves. Expansive AI analyzes the new combinations of changes to learn how they interact to drive complex disease states and drug resistance. 

Systems Oncology co-founder and CEO Spyro Mousses said the resulting insights show the company where potential new drugs could be used.

“Once you understand cancer biology and where resistance comes from, then you can design drugs that have a more durable response,” Mousses said in a statement.

Systems Oncology also created a new platform for drug development. Arromer is an RNA therapeutic platform that allows the company to use the genomic insights to build single agent multi-targeting RNA drugs, which are capable of blocking multiple disease mechanisms simultaneously. 

“That, we believe, is the key to controlling resistance and maintaining long-term durable response,” Mousses said in a statement.

Systems Oncology has partnered with large pharmaceutical companies to test and develop compounds. A recent deal with Bayer covers a small molecule for development in breast cancer. Mousses said an oncolytic virus that Systems Oncology developed is partner ready.

The company has raised about $68 million in private financing and payments from partnerships. Mousses said he’s aiming to raise $50 million in a crossover financing round, followed by an IPO targeting another $150 million. 

This capital would be used to launch System Oncology’s plan to advance 6 programs to clinical proof of concept. Mousses said most of these 6 programs should reach clinical testing over the next year and a half.