NewStem (Israel), a Jerusalem-based biotech with a novel precision-medicine technology that can increase chemotherapy’s effectiveness, announced a $4 million seed financing from a publicly-traded US-based company to be named NovelStem International Corp.
NewStem is a spinoff of Yissum, The Technology Transfer Company of The Hebrew University (Israel). NewStem’s technology can predict patients’ resistance to chemotherapy allowing for better, targeted cancer treatments and the potential to reduce resistance to chemotherapy.
Yissum is the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it is the third company of its kind to be established and serves as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry.
Drug resistance is a major cause of treatment failure in cancer chemotherapy. In present clinical practice, resistance to chemotherapy is only recognized after the first course of treatment has been completed, once no major clinical response is observed. In nearly 50% of all cancer cases, resistance to chemotherapy already exists in the tumors before initiation of the treatment. Treatment of patients with ineffective chemotherapy results in major health hazards, unnecessary suffering and increased costs.
The seed investment will support NewStem’s human Haploid Embryonic Stem Cells (hHESCs) technology, developed by Chief Science Officer, Professor Nissim Benvenisty of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research.
NewStem’s genetic screenings of hHESCs are creating a comprehensive library of mutated genes which confer resistance to individual chemotherapeutic agents. Integration of this proprietary database with each patient’s tumor genetic profile will allow for the prediction of resistance to chemotherapy prior to the commencement of treatment.
In addition to NewStem’s in-house development activities of chemotherapy resistance diagnosis, the company plans to leverage its unique haploid technology and enter into multiple collaborations for the development of therapeutics for genetic disorders as well as for reproductive purposes with leading pharmaceutical companies or promising start-ups.