Pathway Genomics featured in “12 Startups Fighting Cancer With Artificial Intelligence”

Pathway Genomics Cancer Intercept Detect

Original article can be found here.

From early diagnosis to drug discovery, these startups are bringing machine learning algorithms to the fight against cancer.

As the global population ages, the number of cancer cases is going up. New cancer diagnoses are expected to rise by 70% in the next 2 decades, from 14 million to around 22 million, according to an estimate by the World Health Organization.

Corporate giants like Google and IBM are already focusing on making breakthroughs in oncology, using advanced AI algorithms for early detection and personalized treatment of cancer. Some of the initiatives that have recently been in the news include:

  • Google DeepMind announced a research partnership with the University College London Hospitals’ radiotherapy department. DeepMind will test the use of machine learning to reduce the time it takes to plan radiotherapy treatment for hard-to-treat cancers of the head and neck.
  • IBM’s Watson for Oncology  which gives treatment recommendations based on patients’ medical records — announced this month that 21 hospitals across China will start using the cognitive computing platform. It was previously deployed in Thailand and India.
  • The Digital Mammography DREAM challenge, set to begin in September this year, will ask participating teams to “submit predictive models based on over 640,000 de-identified digital mammography images from over 86,000 patients.” With cloud computing sponsors including IBM and Amazon Web Services, the challenge is aimed at improving the accuracy of breast cancer detection using deep learning and other machine learning algorithms.
  • BERG Health, a startup that uses an AI platform for drug discovery, initiated a phase II clinical trial this year for a drug compound that could potentially treat pancreatic cancer. The startup is co-founded by Carl Berg.

We used the CB Insights database to find equity-funded startups that are using artificial intelligence to fight cancer.

1.  CureMetrix


Category: Imaging & diagnostics
Select Investors:
 Analytics Ventures, Keshif Ventures, La Costa Investment Group, evoNexus
Total disclosed funding: NA

California-based CureMetrix has developed an algorithm for image analysis, which is currently being tested to identify lung cancer in x-rays and for breast cancer detection in mammograms.

2. Cyrcadia


Category: Wearable tech
Select Investors: 
Reno Angels
Total disclosed funding: $2.45M

The Nevada-based startup has developed a breast patch to detect temperature changes in breast tissue, and the data is analyzed using machine learning algorithms. It raised a $2.15M Series A round in 2014, and an undisclosed round last year.

3. Enlitic


Category: Imaging & diagnostics
Select Investors:
 Capitol Health Partners, Amplify Partners, Data Collective
Total disclosed funding: $12M

Australia-based diagnostic imaging services company Capitol Health Limited announced a partnership with deep learning-based diagnostics startup Enlitic to “bring deep learning-supported diagnostics to the Australian and Asian healthcare markets.” Capitol Health also led a $10M Series B round to the startup, which uses deep learning algorithms to analyze medical images for lung cancer and bone fracture detection.

For the first time ever, Enlitic adapted deep learning to automatically detect lung cancer nodules in chest CT images 50 percent more accurately than an expert panel of thoracic radiologists, according to the company’s press release.

4. Entopsis


Category: Imaging & diagnostics
Select Investors:
 Krillion Ventures, Breakout Labs
Total disclosed funding: $1.73M

The Miami-based startup is building a device called Nutec (Nanoscale Unbiased Textured Capture) focused mainly on oncology, autoimmune disorders, and rare diseases. After a 2012 grant from Breakout Labs, the startup raised a seed round from Miami-based Krillion Ventures in February 2015.

5. Freenome


Category: Imaging & diagnostics
Select Investors:
 Andreessen Horowitz, Data Collective, Founders Fund, Third Kind Venture Capital, Verizon Communications, StartX
Total disclosed funding: $7.05M

The Philadelphia-based genetics startup, focused on blood tests, received $5.55M seed money in Q2’16 from VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Data Collective, and Founders Fund, before joining Stanford’s StartX accelerator.

So, instead of just talking to us about our technology… the a16z team asked us if we’d be open to performing a blinded test… We were sent five blinded samples of blood plasma and asked to categorize each one of them…we categorized three of the samples to be cancers: stage I, stage III and stage IV, and two as normal. We were 100% correct. — Gabriel Otte, founder and CEO of Freenome, wrote in a Medium post.

6. Globavir Biosciences


Category: Drug Discovery
Select Investors:
 Sorrento Therapeutics, StartX
Total disclosed funding: $0.15M

The immune-oncology startup uses a machine learning platform to reduce drug discovery times. In 2015, the startup entered into a partnership agreement with oncology-focused biopharma company Sorrento Therapeutics, under which it licensed its lead oncology compound to Sorrento.

7. Insilico Medicine


Category: Drug Discovery
Select Investors:
 Deep Knowledge Ventures
Total disclosed funding: $0.8M

The Maryland-based startup applies deep learning algorithms to drug discovery for applications including cancer immunotherapy. It received an undisclosed seed amount from Hong Kong-based Deep Knowledge Ventures in 2014.

8. Notable Labs

notable labs

Category: Drug Discovery
Select Investors: FundersClub, Y Combinator, Upside Partnership
Total disclosed funding: $4.61M

Y Combinator alum and FundersClub-backed Notable Labs uses Atomwise’s drug discovery platform to provide FDA-approved cancer treatment recommendations based on the type of tumor.

9. OncoraMedical


Category: Insights & risk analytics
Select Investors:
 Dorm Room Fund, DreamIt Ventures, Science Center, BioAdvance, iSeed Ventures
Total disclosed funding: $1.32M

The startup brings predictive insights and risk analytics to radiation oncology. It received $1.2M in seed funding from BioAdvance and iSeed Ventures in Q1’16.

10. Pathway Genomics

pathway genomics

Category: Imaging & diagnostics
Select Investors:
 IBM Watson Group, Edelson Technology Partners, Founders Fund
Total disclosed funding: $40M

As we mentioned in our AI in healthcare market map, IBM Watson-backed Pathway Genomics has developed a blood test kit, CencerIntercept Detect, and is currently collecting blood samples from high-risk individuals who have never been diagnosed with cancer, as part of a research study to determine if early detection is possible. The company received a $40M Series E funding from the IBM Watson Group in Q1’16.

11. Proscia


Category: Imaging & diagnostics
Select Investors:
 A-Level Capital, Emerald Development Managers, Robin Hood Ventures, TCP Venture Capital
Total disclosed funding: $1M

The Maryland startup has developed a pathology cloud platform that uses computer vision to analyze biopsy slides and medical images, with a primary focus on oncology. It received $1M in seed funding in Q3’16 from investors including A-Level Capital, Emerald Development Managers, Robin Hood Ventures, and TCP Venture Capital.

12. SkinVision


Category: Monitoring
Select Investors:
 PHS Capital, Leo Pharma
Total disclosed funding: $3.46M

The Netherlands-based skin cancer app uses computer vision to analyze skin lesions. It received a $3.5M corporate minority round in 2015 from dermatology company LEO Pharma.

(featured image credit: Wang)