Cure51 raises a €15M seed round aiming to crack the code on cancer survival

Rather than grimly assembling data about cancer deaths to predict outcomes in treatment, the founders of Cure51 had another idea: Instead, the company assembles data about long-term survivors of cancer, hoping to crack the code on what keeps people alive.

The company has now raised a €15 million seed round led by Paris-based Sofinnova Partners. Other investors in the round included Hitachi Ventures GmbH, Life Extension Ventures, Xavier Niel and Olivier Pomel, the CEO and co-founder of Datadog.

Cure51 will now use the money to build a “cohort” of data to work out why certain cancer patients survive for a long time, even with highly aggressive forms of the disease.

Cure51 was founded in March 2022 by Nicolas Wolikow and Simon Istolainen. Wolikow formerly founded healthtech startup Qare, and Istolainen has previously been an investor and consultant in healthcare.

Wolikow told me: “There are plenty of companies licensing oncology databases, but their databases don’t include survivors. They don’t present such a granularity of multi-omics data (single cell and spatial), and they lack ethnic diversity.”

He also claims companies like Flat Iron (Roche), Market Scan (IBM) and Iqvia offer “simple databases with clinical data and sparse genomic data.” But molecular databases “at multi-omics levels are required for drug discovery,” he said.

In a statement, Simon Turner, a partner at Sofinnova Partners, commented: “Looking at ‘mechanisms of exceptional survival’ is not a new concept, but Cure51 has taken this to a whole new level in terms of the scale of the endeavor, plus leveraging the latest in analytical techniques.”

The tech industry has increasingly turned its guns on cancer in recent years.

Alphabet recently announced a number of initiatives to deploy AI models in the healthcare industry. One will be a tool that will help Fitbit users get insights from their devices and a partnership to improve screenings for cancer and disease in India.