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Refined Laser Systems Raises $2.9M for Rapid Cancer Diagnostics

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Biophotonics technology company and University of Münster spinout Refined Laser Systems has raised €2.7 million ($2.9 million) to develop a prototype intraoperative microscope that the company said identifies tumor margins directly in the surgery room, to offer a diagnosis within minutes by a remote pathologist and AI assistance. The technology aims to help avoid the need for revision surgeries. 

Beyond faster diagnostics, Refined Laser Systems expects the technology to provide and enable a better spatial context of cancer within tissue specimens, which will allow greater insight into the cellular interactions at play. At the core of the prototype, according to the company, will be existing laser technology and an imaging system that will be operational this year.

The company cited hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining of biopsied tissue as the current gold standard of cancer diagnostics. This method requires time-consuming preparation steps, including tissue removal, thin sectioning, and staining before a pathologist can make a diagnosis. The process typically takes up to 10 hours and can lead to prolonged medical procedures.

For example, an average of 12% of breast cancer surgeries in Germany must be repeated because not all cancer cells could be detected and removed during the first surgery, the company said.

Refined Laser Systems’ solution uses Raman microscopy to generates images within minutes. Raman microscopy also does not require external stains, which means that it can be used on thick, uncut samples.

High-Tech Gründerfonds and APEX Ventures, along with NRW.BANK, Onsight Ventures, and Papst Venture Capital, led the funding round. Tom Merk, former executive vice president of Coherent, and  Werner Falkenstein, founder and CEO of former StarMedTec GmbH, also participated. Funding will also be used to expand the team and prepare for clinical approval.

Published: January 2023
BusinessinvestmentLasersseed roundfundingfinancingdiagnosticsMicroscopyspectroscopyRamanRefined Laser SystemsstartupcancerBiophotonicsEuropeBioScan

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