What You Should Know:
– Optellum, an Oxford-based digital health company that provides a breakthrough AI platform to diagnose and treat early-stage lung cancer raises $14M in Series A funding led by Mercia, with additional investors Intuitive Ventures and Black Opal Ventures. Existing investors, including St John’s College in the University of Oxford, IQ Capital, and the family office of Sir Martin & Lady Audrey Wood, also participated in this round.
– The investment will enable Optellum to scale its base, operations, and commercial launches in the UK and USA; accelerate research and development; and expand its platform into personalized therapy decisions by integrating imaging data with molecular data, robotics, and liquid biopsies.
AI-Enabled Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Approximately 150,000 people in the United States and 1.8 million people worldwide die from lung cancer each year. The current worldwide five-year survival rate is 20 percent, primarily because most patients are diagnosed after symptoms have appeared and the disease has progressed to an advanced stage (Stage III or IV). In contrast, the survival rate for small tumors treated at Stage 1A is up to 90 percent. This disparity highlights a critical need for diagnosis and treatment at the earliest stage possible.
Founded in 2016, Optellum is the first and only medtech company to attain FDA clearance, CE-MDR in the EU, and UKCA in the UK for its software platform Virtual Nodule Clinic. This first-of-a-kind platform can help physicians identify and track at-risk patients, and optimally diagnose the signs of lung cancer early, so treatment can be started sooner for patients with tumors, and invasive procedures such as biopsies on benign lesions can be minimized.
Optellum’s platform was developed and clinically validated in partnership with leading universities and healthcare systems around the world. Optellum also has strategic collaborations with GE Healthcare and the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson to accelerate clinical deployments and continue the advancement of the platform. In the UK, Optellum’s solution is being used to predict at-risk lung nodules in a multi-center study with NHS Trusts as part of a major investment in AI for healthcare.