Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the US. Despite the ongoing development of technology that has proven effective at beating back cancers multiple times, metastatic cancer — cancer that spreads from one part of the body to another — remains particularly difficult to treat. Although the symptoms can be mitigated, this late-stage cancer has proven hard to cure.
LifeBridge 10000 is developing a tool called the Adaptive Tumor Treating Field to fight metastatic cancer. This device has the unique effect of interfering with the growth of cancerous cells without inhibiting healthy cells. We reached out to company founder and CEO Peter Travers to learn what the company means to him and how investors can help.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
In your own words, how would you describe your company?
Our company’s mission is to transform metastatic cancer from a terminal prognosis to a manageable chronic disease like diabetes using our multi-patented wearable device technology. Around 90% of cancer patients die from metastatic spread, not from their primary tumors. As a result, on any given day, there are more than 560,000 people in just the US that could benefit from our therapy.
We are about to start our animal safety study, have a functional human-wearable device in testing, and were given the coveted Basket Trial status for our clinical pilot study by the FDA.
What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?
My late wife, Laurie, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 1998. Together we lived through 12 recurrences of cancer over 18 years. In late 2012, we had run out of options, and the end was drawing near for Laurie. Then we heard about a new cancer treatment called tumor treating fields, or TTF, that had been shown to work on 18 different types of cancer. But there were no plans in the foreseeable future to use TTF on metastatic patients with cancer in the torso.
Undeterred, I recruited some senior engineers, and we built our own TTF device. After thorough testing, Laurie began to wear the device 12 hours a day — mostly during sleep. And it worked! Within nine weeks, Laurie’s cancer in the pleura around her left lung was resolved, and she could breathe freely again. Over the next three years, our TTF device let Laurie have a high quality of life.
But as her cancer spread beyond this, we hit the wall with the current form of TTF, as it could not effectively treat her diffuse metastatic cancer. This was the beginning of the end for Laurie, and she passed in 2016.
Laurie said that she wanted our work on the next generation of TTF to continue. So we kept going and created our patented Adaptive TTF (ATTF) system that is built from the ground up to treat diffuse metastatic disease. We believe our present device could have saved Laurie and will save millions like her with diffuse metastatic cancer.
Wall Street has Morningstar, S&P, and Bloomberg
The equity crowdfunding market has KingsCrowd.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
I am very fortunate to have highly experienced engineering, medical, and executive leadership on our team.
Lee Zehngebot, MD, Is our medical advisor and has served as the director of clinical research at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando since 2007. Dr. Z was Laurie’s oncologist and saw what we could accomplish with our ATTF technology.
Rick Rotondo is a C-level high-tech startup veteran with more than $1.9 billion in exits under his belt. Rick was an executive coach at the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, and after 10 months of coaching us, Rick asked to join the company full-time.
Ken Watkins is our chief engineer and carries a top-secret clearance. He has more than 40 years’ experience in developing new high-tech products. Ken was a senior engineer for Northrop Grumman who supervised more than 30 design engineers. Ken was a friend of mine from church and helped build the device that kept Laurie alive for nearly three extra years with a high quality of life.
Scott Krywick is our principal software engineer and has won a technical Emmy award for his work on high-definition video imaging. He has 30 years of experience with both commercial and Department of Defense image processing, command and control. Ken recruited Scott into LifeBridge, as they had worked closely in the past.
Autumn Lang, PhD, is our global regulatory consultant and has more than 20 years of medical clinical regulatory experience. Our advisory board has been involved in more than five medical startups and introduced us to Autumn.
Mike Winegar is our FDA and clinical trial consultant. Mike has successfully led more than 60 medical devices through the FDA process. Mike was introduced to us by Autumn Lang.
How is lifebridge 10000 transforming the cancer treatment industry?
We are building on the proven clinical, therapeutic, and commercial success of basic TTF with our 2.0 version (ATTF) that can effectively treat diffuse tumors. This is transformative for cancer patients and the industry in so many ways. First, while the current generation of TTF has been used to effectively treat tens of thousands of patients globally, it cannot deliver effective therapy to the hundreds of thousands of patients with metastatic spread. Our patented system can. Secondly, TTF and ATTF have none of the side effects of chemo, radiation, immuno, etc. It does not cause nausea, hair loss, “chemo brain,” or any of the other common debilitating traumas.
Finally, our socially responsible business model and robust, reusable device enable us to help treat those who cannot afford therapy while maintaining industry-benchmarked profitability. The team and our investors believe we can all do well by doing good!
To sum it up, our patented technology offers extended life to a vast number of cancer patients who have run out of options. They and their caregivers get a much higher quality of life and face none of the side effects of other therapies. If you have lived with or around advanced cancer, you know what a game-changer that is.
What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?
There are only two companies with patents for TTF therapy, and we are one of them. The other is Novocure. It has been offering TTF commercially since 2013. It is currently only approved to treat certain types of brain cancers and a limited number of mesothelioma patients. It is in clinical trials for lung, pancreatic, and liver cancer currently. However, it does not even mention diffuse metastatic disease in the torso in its published 10-year pipeline. We see that as a blue ocean opportunity for LifeBridge’s patented ATTF system.
We have a differentiated and patented technology built for an underserved global market of highly motivated patients.
Wall Street has Morningstar, S&P, and Bloomberg
The equity crowdfunding market has KingsCrowd.
How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
We have several key milestones over the next 30 months that this round will fund. These include completing our FDA-required animal safety study, getting our investigational device exemption, and completing our human clinical pilot trial.
We should note that the FDA Basket Trial status for our pilot trial allows us to test up to 14 different types of cancer in one study. This is a first for TTF and will save us millions of dollars and take years off our time to market for multiple cancers.
This round will also fund the operations and expansion of the company, including our current and future patent filings in more than 30 countries. This will allow us to add to our portfolio of granted patents in eight countries while increasing our valuation and enhancing our position as a leader in the TTF space.
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
Well, we previously completed a seed round of $1.3 million from friends and family who know us and our backgrounds. We have also received an acquisition offer from a billion-dollar medtech company. Our team and investors unanimously agreed that it was way too early to sell given our growing momentum.
With that, I want to spend a moment talking about what we are doing to minimize clinical and go-to-market risk.
First, TTF has never failed any clinical or pre-clinical study or trial on 18 cancer types. Our device delivers the same FDA-approved frequencies and power levels used in these successful trials and commercial TTF systems. We just do it in a more scalable, adaptable, and finely tuned system.
Second, we have designed our trial protocol to have a short end point. We expect to see clinically significant results on patients in 60 days or less, and again, the FDA has approved this protocol.
Third, we will be able to leverage a robust TTF prescriber infrastructure and global third-party reimbursement rate structure that is already well established in the marketplace.
As you can see, we are in a unique position to offer investors a high-upside, patent-protected opportunity with a strong product-to-market fit. This is supported by a robust, low-risk clinical and go-to-market pathway.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
We see several possible exit strategies for the business and for investors. For the business, we see a real opportunity to build a long-term global offer that leverages our intellectual property in several domains. In addition to our direct market entry, we are also exploring licensing and partnering opportunities — particularly in foreign markets. There is the real possibility of being acquired, as we have already seen.
How that all shakes out in the future will be driven by our mission. How can we, as a business, most effectively transform metastatic cancer from a terminal prognosis into a manageable chronic disease like diabetes? We believe that delivering on this will not only have the greatest impact on the most people’s lives but will also create the best return for our investors.
We welcome people who believe in the mission to join existing investors and help propel our ground-breaking therapy to market.
We look forward to seeing where Peter and his team take the company. LifeBridge 10000 is currently raising on Wefunder.