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Valar Labs Announces $22 Million Series A to Advance Vesta, First AI Diagnostic Test to Predict Treatment Response in Bladder Cancer, and Catalyze Expansion in Other Cancers

–Funding was co-led by DCVC and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)–

PALO ALTO, Calif. – (BUSINESS WIRE)–Valar Labs, the developer of compu­ta­tional histology AI (CHAI) tests for predicting response to cancer therapies, announced a $22 million Series A financing. The funding follows Valar Labs’ completion of a recent inter­na­tional, multi-institution validation study and subsequent launch of Vesta, the first AI-based diagnostic test to predict response to first line treatment in bladder cancer. The Series A financing round was led by leading venture capital firms DCVC and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Bio + Health with partic­i­pa­tion from Pear VC. Vineeta Agarwala, MD, PhD, General Partner at a16z Bio + Health, and James Hardiman, General Partner at DCVC, will be joining the Board of Directors.

We see Valar as a leader in an emerging group of TechMed startups that harness AI and the power of data to augment physicians’ capa­bil­i­ties,” said James Hardiman, general partner at DCVC. Histology has always been one of the keys to diagnosing cancer, but Valar Labs is showing that there are unexpected depths in the digital slides pathol­o­gists review every day. And bladder cancer is only the beginning; we can’t wait to see where they take the technology next.”

Valar Labs was founded to reduce uncertainty in cancer treatment decisions. Every day, oncologists are faced with challenging decisions for millions of cancer patients to determine which treatment pathway is most likely to be effective for a given patient. At Valar Labs, our aim is to provide every oncologist and cancer patient around the world with diagnostics that can help inform these critical decisions,” said the founders in a blog post. They added, Over the last couple of years, we have been able to demonstrate that quan­ti­ta­tive AI analysis of H&E stained tumor histology slides can prog­nos­ti­cate outcomes and predict response to treatment. We have assembled a cohort of 1000+ patients with bladder cancer across 4 continents, and published our analysis showing that the Vesta assay can identify patients who would have more aggressive disease progression under standard of care treatment regimens, and who could benefit from other earlier inter­ven­tions. Vesta is the first-ever, AI-based oncology test to be clinically offered in this disease and we are incredibly excited about the impact it could have for patients and providers. We have also demon­strated that Valar’s approach generalizes to several other tumor types (such as pancreatic cancer) through multiple publi­ca­tions and data that we have been fortunate to present alongside our collab­o­ra­tors at national oncology conferences over the past few years.”

The Vesta validation study of CHAI biomarkers was recently announced by the company and presented at the American Urological Association (AUA) 2024 Annual Meeting. The study demon­strated the biomarkers’ ability to outperform commonly used clinical parameters and demon­strated significant predictive ability across all relevant patient demographics.

The intro­duc­tion of Vesta is a paradigm shift for how we can best serve our bladder cancer patients. Its ability to predict response to BCG treatment is invaluable partic­u­larly amidst the current nationwide BCG shortage. This ensures every patient receives person­al­ized and highly effective treatment,” said Dr. Jay Shah, a urologist at Stanford Healthcare.

Since their announce­ment of a $4 million seed financing led by a16z in 2022, Valar Labs has published over a dozen peer reviewed publi­ca­tions and abstracts demon­strating that the technology they have developed can be used to accurately predict patient outcomes on several therapeutic regimens, across several major cancer types. Valar diagnostic tests could thus inform precision selection of treatments for a broad range of cancer patients.

Valar Labs could transform how we approach cancer treatment decisions for a large number of patients today,” said Vineeta Agarwala, MD, PhD, general partner at a16z Bio + Health. By combining readily available tissue histology images with AI-driven insights, Valar is enabling physicians to deliver the precision oncology care that every patient deserves: matching the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time.”

About Valar Labs:

Valar Labs is a precision medicine company developing compu­ta­tional histology AI tests for predicting response to cancer therapies. Our goal is to provide every patient and physician the ability to select the best treatment based on the patient’s tumor biology. Our bladder cancer test, Vesta, predicts which patients are unlikely to benefit from BCG therapy and provides detailed risk strat­i­fi­ca­tion for recurrence and progression. Vesta is clinically available through our CLIA-certified laboratory in Houston, Texas and can be ordered online. For more information, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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