Shen raises $70 million from investors for cancer-treatment startup

July 12, 2021

Xiling Shen and David Hsu

Xilis, a biotech startup founded by Duke University professors, has raised $70 million from investors to fund the development of its experimental cancer treatment technology.

The company, founded in 2019 by Drs. Xiling Shen, David Hsu, and Hans Clevers, is creating what it calls MicroOrganoSphere technology, or MOS, which takes tissue samples from cancer patients and turns them into thousands of micro replicas of a patient’s cancer tumors.

The replicas — made up of a patient’s own cells and simulating their own immune response — are tested with a variety of treatment options to determine which one might be most effective. The goal is to remove some of the trial-and-error elements of traditional cancer treatments, as it can sometimes take months to determine how a drug is working.

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