Case Studies Xilis

Micro-tumor production grows hope in the fight against cancer

About Xilis

SVB is excited to share the Xilis success story, a biotechnology company developing a precision oncology platform that guides treatment decisions for oncologists to improve cancer care outcomes for patients and supports drug discovery and development for pharmaceutical companies.   

The bold idea

Cancer kills nearly 600,000 people in the US annually. That’s why having innovative treatment options is so crucial to patient survival. A novel platform founded by Duke University medical and engineering professors Dr. David Hsu and Xiling Shen, Ph.D., holds promise.

Based on biomedical, oncology and stem cell research conducted by Dutch scientist Dr. Hans Clevers, MicroOrganoSphereTM (MOS) technology represents a new standard in patient-derived micro-tumor production. The technology uses biopsies from individual patients to grow tiny versions of their unique organs and tumors. Doctors evaluate the tissue cells to pinpoint the stage of the disease and test how it responds to various drugs and treatments to quickly determine the best course of action.

The partnership

At the early stage, MOS technology drew interest from heavy-hitting investors in the United States and Europe. In selecting SVB as its bank, the company secured a $1.75 million venture debt facility.

It began building toward Series A financing to open a lab, prove out the technology, expand its AI-driven capabilities, fund clinical studies for diagnostic development and validate the use of MOS technology with biopharmaceutical partners.

SVB continues to be a partner every step of the way, providing venture debt to ensure cash until Xilis’s next round of equity and growth.

SVB has been a valued partner in our path to growth, coming in with the financial backing at the early stage enabling us to bring the vision of MicroOrganoSphere technology to life.

Xiling Shen, Ph.D. , Co-founder & CEO, Xilis

The solution

SVB structured a deal that included:
  • $1.75 million in venture debt at Series A, fully funded at close
  • 6-month extension upon completed co-promotion partnership
  • 12-month extension upon completed Series A equity raise of $20 million+

The impact

SVB’s $1.75 million venture debt facility led to a healthy Series A valuation and $70 million in new equity proceeds enabling Xilis to:
  • Open its first office in North Carolina; the company has expanded to include facilities in California and Europe
  • Hire critical personnel to expand research and discovery of MOS and validate the technology
  • Research, test and prove out its micro-scale tissue models
Xilis is showing unprecedented promise in its quest to provide life-saving support to the medical community in its fight against cancer. Clinicians might someday use MOS in immunotherapy treatment development specified for the patient’s unique immune microenvironment, and drug developers could use the company’s versatile platform at multiple stages of research and development, including early discovery, preclinical toxicity and efficacy, and clinical trials. In 2022, BioSpace selected Xilis as one of the top 25 biotech companies to watch.
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