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Cancer Nutrition Therapy Biotech Raises $47M in Early Funds

Faeth app screen shots

Screen shots from Faeth iOS app. Click on image for full-size view (Faeth Therapeutics, Apple Music)

30 June 2022. A start-up company developing nutritional therapies to attack precise molecular cancer targets is raising $47 million in its first venture funding round. Faeth Therapeutics in San Francisco, a company less than a year old, is based on research by scientific founders in academic labs in the U.S. and U.K.

Faeth Therapeutics seeks to make diet a more important factor in treating cancer than it is today. The company’s strategy is to design nutritional treatments that use metabolism to target precise molecular conditions for degrading tumors, in effect starving the tumors. Faeth says its treatment approach is designed to supplement other precision treatments, providing a more favorable environment for those therapies to work.

The company says physicians now use four types of cancer treatments: surgery, radiotherapies such as X-rays, small molecule drugs like chemotherapy, and biologics such as immunotherapies. Faeth believes precise dietary treatments should be a fifth pillar of cancer treatment. Precise nutrition treatments, says the company, include adjustments in the content of vitamins, fats, amino acids, and carbohydrates in a patient’s diet to create metabolic reactions limiting activity of cancer-causing genes. These diet modifications, says Faeth, make it more likely for other treatments to work, and also reduce risks of adverse effects.

“Like neurological, endocrine, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases,” says Faeth co-founder and CEO Anand Parikh in a company statement released through Cision, “cancer can be treated through diet, but until now, scientific research into cancer nutrition patterns has lacked in-depth mechanistic understanding, contributing to potentially harmful advice for cancer patients.”

Three clinical trials underway of nutritional therapies

Faeth Therapeutics’ scientific founders are a team of cancer researchers in the U.S. and U.K. that include Lewis Cantley at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Scott Lowe at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sid Mukherjee at Columbia University, Greg Hannon at Cancer Research U.K. Cambridge Institute, and Karen Vousden at the Francis Crick Institute in London. The company cites several preclinical studies by these researchers and others with lab animals and organoids — 3-D lab-grown collections of cancer cells — that show increased survival time compared to untreated controls or other therapies, when addressing specific cancer-gene defined targets.

Faeth is conducting three clinical trials testing its nutritional therapies. One trial is an early-stage study combining the company’s insulin-suppression treatment with the precision-cancer drug serabelisib in patients with several advanced tumor cancers expressing two types of cancerous mutations in the PIK3CA gene. The trial is assessing safety of the combined treatments, as well as chemical activity of serabelisib, and anti-tumor responses in patients. The other two trials are evaluating Faeth’s Nonessential amino acid restriction or Neear treatments, on their own in patients with metastatic colorectal and pancreatic cancer. Those trials also are assessing the treatments’ safety and anti-tumor effects.

The company is developing personalized nutritional therapies, as supplements or entire customized meals to match the precise molecular conditions of cancer patients. Faeth also offers a smartphone app available on Apple iOS and Android platforms to provide patients with online support from trained nutritionists.

Faeth Therapeutics is raising $47 million in its first venture round, led by S2G Ventures in Chicago, an investor in science-based start-ups in food, agriculture, and the environment. Joining the round are current investors Khosla Ventures and Future Ventures, and new funders Digitalis, KdT Ventures, AgFunder, and Cantos. The company so far raised $20 million in equity seed funds.

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