Deep Lens, Inc., a Columbus, OH-based AI-driven digital pathology company focused on clinical trial recruitment at the time of diagnosis has raised $14 million in Series A funding. The Series A round was led by Northpond Ventures with participation from existing investors Rev1 Ventures, Sierra Ventures, and Tamarind-Hill Partners. The funding comes months after Deep Lens emerged from stealth in October 2018 with a $3.2M seed round, which brings their funding to date total to $17.5 million.
Built by Pathologists for Pathologists
Founded by Dave Billite and Simon Arkell, Deep Lens’ digital pathology platform was developed by the innovation group at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) in Columbus, Ohio. The platform was built by expert pathology groups working with the NCH team from around the world that focused on specific tumor types and subtypes. NCH played the role of global biospecimen repository and facilitated research projects globally including The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA) before being commercialized. Those participants, at over 65 major institutions, helped forge the requirements that today make up the company’s flagship technology called VIPER (Virtual Imaging for Pathology Education and Research).
Rapid Central Pathology Review for Patient Enrollment
Patient recruitment for clinical trials remains a time-intensive, costly barrier to the execution of drug development programs. More than 14,000 oncology clinical trials are actively recruiting patients yet estimates put the rate of participation as low as three percent of potential trial candidates. Deep Lens’ VIPER subscription-based platform combines artificial intelligence (AI) with advanced pathology workflows to enable the pathologist in clinical trial recruitment. By identifying eligible patients at the time of their diagnosis, much sooner than current methods, VIPER can help fast-track trial enrollment and potentially shorten the duration of the trial.
VIPER Enterprise is available for case assignment, collaboration between team members for second opinions, and group reviews of difficult cases. The platform is free and includes 100GB per pathologist of free cloud storage. After reaching 100GB in cloud storage, the user will pay a simple monthly fee. Deep Lens plans to roll out single user accounts for pathologists to collaborate on any case with a pathologist outside of their organization in the near future.
Other use cases for the VIPER platform includes lab as a service (whole side imaging/scanning service), biospecimen quality control, quality assurance, and training/education.
Expansion Plans for Deep Lens
Deep Lens will use the funding to further expand its artificial intelligence (AI) and platform product development activities and scale its service, sales, and marketing organizations to support current and anticipated demand and growth for its VIPER platform to support to clinical trial recruitment.
“Since our inception, we’ve benefitted from a tremendous group of investors, which now includes the world class team at Northpond Ventures,” said Deep Lens co-founder and CEO Dave Billiter. “This Series A financing is further validation of the value of our industry-changing approach to digital pathology in delivering the right cancer diagnoses faster and accelerating oncology trial recruitment and timelines.”