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Exclusive: Artera nabs $90M for AI prostate cancer test

Mar 21, 2023
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Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Artera, a medical company developing AI tests to personalize therapy for cancer patients, raised $90 million, the company tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: It is estimated that more than 288,000 new cases of prostate cancer will arise in 2023, with more than 34,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

Details: Institutional investors include Coatue, Johnson & Johnson, Koch Disruptive Technologies, Walden Catalyst Ventures, TIME Ventures, Breyer Capital and The Factory.

  • Also participating were angel investors Marc Benioff, Jim Breyer, Lip-Bu Tan, Chris Re, Andy Jacques, Amarjit Gill, Jeff Dean, Steve Blank, Dennis Wong, Clarence So, Michael Driscoll.
  • Fresh funds will finance commercial distribution in the US and globally, CEO Andre Esteva says.

How it works: Artera's ArteraAI Prostate Test bills itself as the first to predict the benefit of treatment in localized prostate cancer — the most common cancer in American men.

  • The multimodal AI test identifies prostate cancer patients who will benefit from intensified treatment and helps guide treatment for localized prostate cancer patients.
  • Once Artera receives the sample, the company reports back to the referring oncologist within four to five days with treatment guidance.

What they're saying: Rising reimbursement rates are a headwind for technology like Artera's, despite broader economic downturn, says Esteva.

  • "We're really excited to really be able to support the distribution of our test, and support the expansion of our test and other tests that will develop, irrespective of what might be going on in broad markets," he says.
  • BTIG analyst Marie Thibault told Axios this month she's observing a "healthier and livelier" med tech market.
  • "The name of the game today is high growth and demonstrable progress toward profitability," Thibault says.

Flashback: Artera was founded in late 2021.

Of note: While the now-collapsed Silicon Valley Bank funded a lot of health tech start ups, Artera has never banked with SVB.

  • "Fortunately, we have steered clear of that entire situation," said Esteva. "We're in a really healthy financial spot as we really value efficiency and capital efficiency."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove a PitchBook valuation of Artera’s valuation that the company says is incorrect.

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