Alpheus Medical has secured a $16m in series A financing for its novel non-invasive sonodynamic drug-device therapy system to treat recurrent high-grade gliomas.

The funding will be used by the company to conduct a first-in-human (FIH) clinical trial with its non-invasive sonodynamic therapy system to treat fatal brain cancer called recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (rGBM).

The round, which was co-led by OrbiMed Advisors and Action Potential Venture Capital, saw participation from SV Health Investors venture fund Medtech Convergence Fund, National Brain Tumor Society’s affiliate Brain Tumor Investment Fund and American Cancer Society’s impact venture capital arm BrightEdge.

Designed to deliver whole hemisphere treatment, the non-invasive sonodynamic therapy will enable to selectively target and kill cancer cells through an outpatient procedure. When required, the procedure may be repeated for the treatment of the disease, the company said.

As part of the multi-site study, the company will assess the safety, feasibility and molecular and clinical effects of the sonodynamic therapy treatment in patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas.

The company is planning to begin the recruitment of patients in the trial in the coming months.

Alpheus Medical executive chairman and OrbiMed venture partner Dr Klaus Veitinger said: “Glioblastoma tumors are located within the blood-brain barrier and are very difficult to treat due to their heterogenous and invasive nature.

“Treatment of these devastating tumors is currently limited by procedures that are highly invasive, may not be repeated, often result in complications, and in many situations lead to undesirable quality of life trade-offs for the patient.”

Using a sonodynamic approach, the drug-device combination selectively accumulates in cancer cells and becomes active under low intensity ultrasound to eliminate the tumour cells.

Alpheus’ ultrasound delivery device delivers SDT therapy to trigger cell death in only the cancer cells that have absorbed the drug, upon administration of the drug.

The therapy also helps to avoid the use of concomitant imaging such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).