Quest to Partner with Paige.ai To Develop AI-Driven Digital Pathology Cancer Diagnostics

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female scientist with a slide with a breast tumour
[Source: Nicola Tree/Getty Images]

U.S. lab testing giant Quest Diagnostics will partner with digital pathology pioneer Paige to develop AI focused cancer diagnostics using pathology images.

Paige’s technology uses machine learning and deep learning algorithms to extract useful diagnostic information from pathology slides and images. For example, by picking up tissue patterns and markers that might signify disease and be difficult for the human eye to see. Its computational platform is designed to help pathologists analyze patient images and come to a quicker and more accurate diagnosis than they would otherwise be able to.

The company began as a spinout from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2017 and has the rights to all the organization’s digitized pathology slides as well as rights to digitize the remaining archives.

Quest has already invested in the digital pathology field in the past and owns AmeriPath and Dermpath, both also developing image-based diagnostics. This new collaboration will add to its existing portfolio and help the diagnostics company become a leader in the relatively new field of AI-led digital pathology.

“As the leader in advanced diagnostics, we are excited to actively participate in the creation and use of new technologies that further the mission to make precision medicine clinically accessible, actionable and economical. We are energized about contributing our expertise to Paige’s computational pathology leadership to deliver insights from leading-edge technologies to improve the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases,” said Kristie Dolan, General Manager, Oncology Franchise, Quest Diagnostics.

The collaboration, financial terms of which were undisclosed, will initially focus on developing software to help diagnosis of solid tumors in patients with prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancer. Paige will contribute its machine learning expertise in this area and Quest will contribute digital images from Ameripath and Dermpath, as well as pathology expertise, to speed the development of new tools.

Following regulatory approval, any new products that arise from the partnership will be marketed to oncologist, pathologists and diagnostic providers. The partners will share revenue achieved at agreed product development and commercial milestones and if approved, products will be added to Quest’s pathology portfolio. The two companies also say they plan to license programs to drug developers to help with producing companion diagnostics.

Paige is by no means the only startup in AI-led digital pathology, PathAI, BioAI Health and others are all developing similar software. However, Paige seems to be one of the frontrunners. In addition to the new collaboration with Quest, it raised a $100 million Series C round this January and also has several other partnerships with companies such as Inform Diagnostics, Leica Biosystems and Agendia.

It also already received FDA breakthrough designation for its technology, one of the first companies in this area to do so, as well as two European approvals for its breast and prostate cancer diagnostic tools.

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