Lantern Pharma charts course for IPO with AI platform that shines light on failed cancer drugs
Artificial intelligence — the cure-all for the pesky process of making a therapeutic, including data mining, drug discovery, optimal drug delivery and addressable patient population — is being employed by yet another biotech: Lantern Pharma.
The company, which uses its AI platform to identify patients that could benefit from its targeted oncology therapies, on Thursday unveiled plans to make its public debut in an up to $29 million IPO.
Founded in 2013, Lantern’s pipeline encompasses small molecules that others have tried but failed to develop into an approved drug, as well as new compounds. The Dallas-based company has two drugs in the clinic: LP-100 and LP-300, which initially showed promise but failed to pass muster in late-stage studies.
The failures can be attributed to a “lack of patient stratification driven by an inability to develop biomarker-driven, precision oncology trials,” Lantern suggested in the SEC filing, indicating its AI capabilities could reverse the compounds’ fortunes.
Traditional drug development is complex, expensive, protracted and comes with lousy odds of success — so employing data-heavy strategies to streamline the process is intuitive, given advances in genomics and genetically-driven diseases, such as cancer.
The company’s own AI platform, called RADR, parses through a wide array of sources including transcriptome sequencing and gene expression (RNA) studies, drug sensitivity data, mutation and tumor type and stage data as well as patient data (age, sex, race/ethnicity, drug treatment history) that are deidentified and Institutional Review Board (IRB) compliant to make determinations.
The company, which as of December employed a total of four full-time and three part-time employees, plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol $LTRN. Company chief Panna Sharma previously served as CEO of DNA-based cancer diagnostics company Cancer Genetics.