8 September 2020
Fukushima SiC Applied Engineering raises $30m in Series C funding
Fukushima SiC Applied Engineering Inc of Naraha, Fukushima, Japan, a silicon carbide (SiC) silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics products technology venture company that is developing boron-neutron capture therapy (BNCT), has raised $30m (JPY3.1bn) in Series C funding from investors including Japan’s C:iz Investment LLP, Japan Post Investment Corp, San Francisco bay area-based Astellas Venture Management LLC, and SMBC Venture Capital Co Ltd. The funds are expected to be used for BNCT-related pre-clinical and clinical trial activities in Japan as well as activities to expand overseas activities including efforts to obtain regulatory approvals.
Boron-neutron capture therapy is a type of radiotherapy and a new way to treat cancer. A boron agent that reacts readily with neutrons is accumulated by the tumor cells, and the reaction between neutrons in a neutron beam and the accumulated boron is used to selectively destroy tumor cells.
Leveraging its proprietary SiC device technologies, Fukushima SiC Applied Engineering has developed a multi-port neutron radiation cancer treatment system that is said to be significantly more compact and lower cost than existing BNCT systems and has unique capabilities that open up the possibility of targeting deep-seated cancers and metastatic micro-tumors that have previously been difficult to treat with the ability to destroy tumor cells equivalent to heavy particle beam therapy.
The company has completed the development and manufacturing of its SiC-BNCT clinical trial machine (with six neutron sources) and is expecting to start clinical trials at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine next year.
The technology development continues to be funded in part by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry subsidy program for areas recovering from the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disasters.