The ongoing global pandemic has pushed healthcare services to the limit. From crowded hospitals to long diagnosis wait times, COVID has exposed many areas where healthcare may need a virtual hand, even in a post-COVID reality. One area where pathologists have previously struggled is in cancer diagnostics. It could be the lack of skilled personnel, backed up labs, or plain and simple, a rise in cases, but these workload issues can cause critical mishaps during the critical diagnosis process.
"Automated and immediate “second opinion” on their diagnoses"
One company looking to provide that helping hand is Ibex Medical Analytics, an Israeli medtech startup harnessing AI to assist pathologists in cancer diagnstics. The company’s Galen platform uses AI and machine learning technologies to support physicians and providers, helping them improve diagnostic accuracy and efficiency, and enable development of new AI tools for precision medicine in oncology. The AI platform is trained on numerous scans of tumors to help recognize even the slightest anomaly.
Though, when we’re talking about can’t miss diagnosis like cancer, how much should AI be involved, if at all? To answer this question, we chatted with Ibex Medical Analytics CEO and co-founder Joseph Mossel. He answered the latter part by saying that AI definitely plays a role in diagnostics, although “we believe that pathologists should ultimately remain responsible for diagnosis.” Mossel says that AI will be the tool to help pathologists “perform their work faster and with less error.” This means that you don’t have to worry anytime soon about getting a full-on diagnosis from a “robot”, although an educated one.
Mossel notes that Ibex is looking to empower the pathologist, not replace it: “AI in pathology is very much like autopilots in aviation. The pilot is at the cockpit and clearly responsible for passengers’ safety but we all prefer there is an auto-assistant available to make sure the pilot can focus on what’s important. Because, as you say, cancer diagnosis is a “can’t miss” process, AI becomes absolutely necessary. Pathologists are, after all, humans that can and do make diagnostic errors and artificial intelligence helps them by providing 100% quality control in real time. AI is never tired, it never has a bad day, therefore it is the ultimate safety net for humans. Particularly in an area as sensitive as cancer diagnosis, where the implications of missing a cancer can be dire, sometimes life threatening, pathologists who use our solution immediately embrace the option of having an AI companion that provides an automated and immediate “second opinion” on their diagnoses, ensuring patient safety.”
Series B raises the bar
In addition to FDA success, the Israeli medtech company has formed important partnerships, including with Institut Curie, to help not only expand their targeted market penetration but also further advance different areas of cancer diagnostics. The company has begun its expansion across North America with the deployment of its AI diagnostics platform in Puerto Rico. In addition, to collaborating with multiple partners on developing AI-markers for prognostic and predictive applications used in cancer management and drug development.
This all has led up to the company’s announcement that it has closed a $38 million Series B funding round. The investment was led by Octopus Ventures and 83North, with additional participation from aMoon, Planven Entrepreneur Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital, the corporate venture arm of Dell Technologies.
Ibex Medical Analytics, the pioneer in AI-powered cancer diagnostics, today announced a $38 million Series B financing round led by Octopus Ventures and 83North, with additional participation from aMoon, Planven Entrepreneur Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital, the corporate venture arm of Dell Technologies.
Ibex Medical Analytics was founded in 2016 by CEO Joseph Mossel and CTO Chaim Linhart, Ph.D. The company is based in Tel Aviv, and has raised $52 million to date. Ibex will use the funds to support rapid expansion in North America and Europe, as well as help accelerate the advancement of new AI tools.
“We continue to be impressed with Ibex’s progress since the previous investment round, making a meaningful impact on cancer diagnosis globally,” said Gil Goren, General Partner at 83North and an Ibex Board member. “In a relatively short amount of time, Ibex has proven its utility to users, making AI a key driver in their decision to go digital. We are proud of the company’s achievements and look forward to the next phase in the company’s continued growth.”