Artificial intelligence has become one of the key weapons in the fight against cancer and the many forms and mutations that it takes, and today a startup is coming out of stealth and announcing funding and a significant data deal as it seeks to build an AI system specifically to help understand one aspect of the treatment cycle: cancer pathology.
New York-based Paige.AI — an acronym for Pathology AI Guidance Engine — has closed $25 million in Series A funding and has signed a deal with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer to have exclusive access to its 25 million pathology slides (one of the biggest repositories in the world) as well as its intellectual property related to computational pathology.
The company said that it plans to focus first on breast, prostrate and other major cancers, and expects to partner with other medical centers beyond MSK, as well as commercial labs and pharmaceutical companies as it grows and develops its applications.
The funding, meanwhile, is led by Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, along with other, unnamed investors that “wish to remain anonymous”, the company tells me, and appears to be the first funding ever announced by Paige. MSK received equity as part of the license, but MSK isn’t a cash investor.
“Paige.AI is poised to become a powerhouse in computational pathology and an undisputed leader among thousands of healthcare AI competitors,” said Breyer in a statement. “Today, we take a major step forward in harnessing machine learning and more fully realizing its promise for cancer diagnosis and treatment.”
Notably, the startup was essentially hatched inside of MSK itself.
One founder who is now the CEO, Dr Thomas Fuchs, is known as the “father of computational pathology” and is the director of Computational Pathology in The Warren Alpert Center for Digital and Computational Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering, as well as a professor of machine learning at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.
The other co-founder is Dr David Klimstra, who is chairman of the department of pathology at MSK. The company’s chairman, Norman Selby, has been the chairman of two other medical information businesses, Real Endpoints and Physicians Interactive, in a long list of other roles.
Both are keeping their existing roles as they also build out Paige.AI, the company confirmed.
Read the source article at TechCrunch.