Caldera Health secures $1 million to develop prostate cancer diagnostic

July 6, 2011

Pacific Channel Limited, New Zealand’s leading venture development and investment firm focused on early-stage life science and clean-tech innovation led $1 million of new equity investment for Caldera Health Ltd, enabling the company to advance development of its technology to diagnose prostate cancer.

The placement of Caldera Health shares to raise $1 million in Series A funding followed Pacific Channel securing $560,000 in seed-capital in June 2010.

Caldera Health director, Dr Jim Watson, who was the founder and chief executive of Genesis Research and Development, said Caldera had developed a “true partnership” with Pacific Channel. “Not only had Pacific Channel acted as lead manager on the capital raisings, it was also an investor, brought commercial expertise to the table in developing business strategy, and provided scientific, commercial and director-level recruitments,” Dr Watson said.

Caldera Health is in the advanced stages of developing non-invasive molecular in vitro diagnostic tests that could detect prostate cancer with a far greater degree of accuracy than the currently available, poorly predictive, PSA blood test. In vitro diagnostic tests are medical devices intended to perform diagnosis in a controlled environment outside a living organism. The set of biomarkers being developed by Caldera Health will enable prostate cancer treatments to be tailored to the requirements of individual patients.

After an introduction by Pacific Channel, Dr Roland Toder joined Caldera Health as Vice President Business Development to progress the development and commercialisation of Caldera Health’s diagnostic platform. Dr Toder’s experience includes molecular diagnostics, product and corporate business development. He has a track record of successful fundraising.

As reported in the last Bulletin, Caldera also plans to use its diagnostic tools to develop treatment regimes using drugs that are fully approved and already in use in the United States. This includes drugs approved for specific types of cancer but not for the treatment of prostate cancer.

About 600 New Zealand men die from prostate cancer each year, about the same as the number of women who die from breast cancer. With early diagnosis, at least one third of those who die from prostate cancer could be saved, Dr Watson said.