Precision medicine startup DeepLens exits stealth mode with $3.2 million seed funding to globally deploy its flagship pathology product
Deep Lens, a cloud-based digital pathology startup that helps patients, pathologists and physicians work together to accelerate and optimize treatment, has emerged from the stealth mode with with $3.2 million seed financing. The new funding will be used for product development and globally deploy the company’s flagship technology, called VIPER (Virtual Imaging for Pathology Education and Research), which is now available as a public beta. The seed round was led by Silicon Valley-based Sierra Ventures with participation from Rev1 Ventures and Tamarind Hill Fund. In conjunction with the financing, Mark Shary, managing member of Tamarind Hill, and Dr. Jeff Elton, CEO of Concerto Health AI, will join the Company’s board of directors.
Founded in 2017 by Dave Billiter, Simon Arkell, and TJ Bowen, its mission is to enable the acceleration of cancer diagnoses and clinical research and empower patients in diagnosis through treatment. Deep Lens is advancing VIPER, one of the world’s first digital pathology cloud platforms that for more than ten years has allowed pathology groups to collaborate on groundbreaking cancer research across dozens of cancer types. Based on feedback from hundreds of expert global users, VIPER will include AI-powered image detection, workflow support, telepathology, pathologist and patient collaboration, cloud storage, and built-in APIs for integration by hardware and software vendors and biopharma companies. The company has exclusively licensed the VIPER digital pathology platform and image analysis algorithms with the goal of extending the platform with integrated and automated artificial intelligence. VIPER technology is also now available to pathologists free of charge to enhance patient care, collaboration, and clinical cancer research
Along with platform development, the financing will be used to globally deploy the company’s flagship technology, called VIPER (Virtual Imaging for Pathology Education and Research), which is now available as a public beta. VIPER will combine AI with advanced pathology workflows while also facilitating peer-to-peer and pathologist-to-patient collaboration. The ultimate aim is to provide users with fast and accurate information, along with expert consultation, for better patient care and advanced clinical research.
“VIPER has always been about empowering and enabling the pathology community, allowing them to focus on the nuanced cancer diagnoses and case-specific details that require many years of specialized medical training,” said Dave Billiter, co-founder and CEO of Deep Lens. “It’s incredibly exciting to now leverage the evolution in machine vision technology as we launch VIPER globally, free of charge to benefit all pathologists and, in turn, their patients.”
Billiter was an inventor of VIPER while serving as Director of both the Biopathology Center Informatics Team and the Informatics Core of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the United States. For more than 10 years, the technology was used and refined by pathologists at more than 65 major institutions in eight countries. Deep Lens has exclusively licensed the resulting VIPER technology and image analysis methods with the goal of extending the platform with integrated and automated artificial intelligence.
“For many years VIPER has been used to support many translational research projects and clinical trial initiatives across several NCI-funded cancer research efforts with reviews completed by hundreds of pathologists,” said Dr. Nilsa Ramirez, Medical Director of the Biopathology Center at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Based on feedback from hundreds of global users, VIPER will soon include AI-powered image detection, workflow support, telepathology, cloud storage, and built-in APIs for integration by hardware and software vendors and biopharma companies. Deep Lens has also established a world-class imaging lab to enable pathology groups to “go digital” by shipping slides to Deep Lens, then receive digital versions of those slides within 48 hours along with free access to VIPER.
Regarding the seed financing round, Sierra Ventures Managing Director Mark Fernandes said, “We have been diligently analyzing AI and computer vision in the healthcare market, and we believe Deep Lens has the key components to make a significant impact in digital pathology with a strong team, leading technology, and vast market opportunity.”
Deep Lens is extending one of the world’s first digital pathology cloud platforms that for over ten years has allowed pathology groups to collaborate on groundbreaking cancer research across dozens of cancer types. Based on feedback from hundreds of expert global users, they are enhancing the system to include AI-powered image detection and workflow support, telepathology, collaboration, cloud storage and built in APIs for integration by hardware and software vendors and biopharma companies.