We are excited to announce our investment in Xilis’ $70M series A, alongside our friends at Mubadala, GV, LSP, and Catalio Ventures, as well as existing investors.
For several years, our team at Two Sigma Ventures has been investing in platforms that aim to decrease the drug development timeline and increase the number of treatments available for some of humanity’s most complex diseases. At the same time, we have witnessed a proliferation of patient data that can help companies more effectively treat and segment patient populations.
Xilis is generating a new category of patient data designed to inform and improve both drug discovery and treatment selection. Their proprietary MicroOrganoSphere (MOS) technology generates thousands of miniature patient-derived tumors that capture the original heterogeneity and microenvironment for therapeutic profiling. This platform was inspired by conventional organoids, which have not yet been leveraged in clinical settings because they are challenging, expensive, and slow to produce. Xilis is able to produce MOSs at a fraction of the time and cost, at a significantly higher success rate and, importantly, greater scale than traditional organoids.
What this means in practice is that the effect of drugs can be modeled on actual patient tissue more safely, quickly, and affordably than ever before. Xilis’ platform can be effective not just for diseases with genetic origins, but a much broader set of diseases. Their platform can help clinicians prioritize treatments for each patient, reducing the physical and financial burden of multiple treatment attempts. It also enables high-fidelity drug discovery, toxicity studies, clinical trials, and a myriad of other research forms.
When we first met Xiling, CEO and co-founder of Xilis, it was his bold vision to improve clinical outcomes with truly novel technology that attracted us to the company. Many extraordinary advances in the field of oncology have been made over the last decade, but we still are far from acceptable treatment outcomes. It was also clear that investing in Xilis meant investing in a world-class team – Dr. Xiling Shen, Dr. David Hsu, and Dr. Hans Clevers. Dr. Clevers, a Breakthrough Prize winner, invented conventional organoid technology in his lab over 12 years ago. Dr. Shen and Dr. Hsu, the inventors of their MOS technology, are accomplished engineering and medical professors at Duke University and experts in precision medicine.
We cannot wait to see the impact of Xilis’ technology on the standard of care in oncology and other disease areas, as well as methods of discovery of novel drugs. Congratulations to the Xilis team. We are thrilled to be part of this journey.