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Boron Radiation Therapy Company Forms with $40M Funding

Fusion beam system

Fusion beam system (TAE Technologies Inc.)

12 March 2018. A start-up enterprise, spun off from a fusion energy company, plans to develop radiation therapies for solid tumor cancers often considered difficult to treat with conventional methods. TAE Life Sciences, a majority-owned subsidiary of TAE Technologies Inc. in Foothill Ranch, California, is also raising $40 million in its first venture funding round.

TAE Life Sciences is developing treatments for solid tumor cancers using boron neutron capture therapy, a type of radiation treatment. Boron neutron capture therapy concentrates beams of neutron particles on cancer cells in tumors that take up a stable, non-radioactive isotope known as boron-10. The neutron rays are absorbed by boron-10 that breaks down and releases destructive alpha particles that kill the cancer cells. But the alpha particles move no further than the cancer cells infused with boron-10, thus sparing surrounding healthy tissue without boron-10.

TAE Life Sciences plans to take advantage of advances in accelerator-based beam processes by its parent company TAE Technologies Inc., also in Foothill Ranch. TAE Technologies is developing environmentally-friendly fusion energy sources using beams of high-energy hydrogen atoms that the company says is more stable and less energy intensive than previous fusion methods, as well as boron, another abundant element, in its fuel cycle.

Those beams, says TAE Life Sciences, will be aimed at boron-10 concentrations delivering therapeutic radiation doses in 1 or 2 sessions. The company says its first applications will be solid tumor cancers in head and neck tissue, as well as aggressive brain tumors such as glioblastoma, cancers also considered difficult to treat. TAE says it plans to package the beam-generating system in a free-standing device small enough to be used in hospitals that can deliver the beams with varying intensity as needed. Up to now, says the company, the lack of a compact, practical method for delivering the neutron beams discouraged use of boron neutron capture therapy.

TAE Life Sciences is raising $40 million its first venture financing, led by technology and life science investment company Artis Ventures in San Francisco. No other participants in the funding round were disclosed. Venture capital executive Bruce Bauer is TAE Life Sciences’ CEO. The company’s first neutron beam system is expected to be delivered to Neuboron Medtech Ltd., a Chinese company working in boron neutron capture therapy, or BNCT.

“BNCT has been investigated as a promising area of treatment for some time,” says Bauer in a company statement, “but challenged by the limited radiation options for convenient clinical practice. Now, TAE Life Sciences stands ready to offer a compelling and compassionate application of medical science innovation, increasing accessibility to treatment options for a challenging disease, and improving outcomes for patients around the world.”

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