Proscia started off the year with a series of partnerships that will help expand its digital pathology platform, as well as new hires. The startup is also moving.
Within a few weeks, the company is planning to relocate its headquarters and entire team from Baltimore to Philadelphia, CEO David West said this week. The transition is underway, as some team members have already relocated and new engineering hires are also located in Philly. While hiring, West said it became apparent that Philly was a good market for deep learning talent.
“It made more sense to make those hires in Philly,” West said, adding that it would move the startup closer to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel. Among the recent additions to the team is deep learning engineer Rajath Soans, who came to Proscia from Drexel.
West is originally from the Philadelphia area. He founded the company while studying as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University with Coleman Stavish, Hunter Jackson and Nathan Buchbinder. Along with the founding and work to develop the product at Hopkins, it built ties in Baltimore through an office in Spark Baltimore and investors, as well. The startup now has an 11-member team with a presence on the West Coast, as well.
The company’s platform is designed to apply bringing machine learning techniques to pathology, which is the field that involves diagnosing cancer and other conditions by studying tissue samples taken during a biopsy. This was a field that mostly involved specialists looking through a microscope, and could result in inaccuracies. Applying technology can also help a field that has a shortage of workers, West said.
It’s one a group of startups with ties to Johns Hopkins bringing new approaches to medical fields that have long been using manual processes.
With partnerships, Proscia has begun to expand use cases as it aims for its software to become what West called the operating system for pathology. With increasing use of scanners that digitize medical images and technology that allows slides to be analyzed on digital displays, Prosica’s platform provides analysis and workflow tools that can be used while the image of the sample is being diagnosed.
“The workflow is designed in such a way that it’s supposed to be seamless. Rather than reviewing a slide under a microscope, you’re now reviewing it under a computer system,” West said.
A partnership announced this week with Toronto-based Proteocyte AI involves using Proscia’s software to predict the risk of the progression of oral cancer. In that case, Proscia’s software would form the backbone of the lab’s analysis and workflow, while integrating the company’s algorithm that can detect specific biomarkers.
Another partnership moves Proscia into the field of diagnosing skin disorders, called dermatopathology. Proscia signed an agreement to provide its software at a large lab, whose name was undisclosed, which is focused on this area.
UPDATE (4/16/18, 2:00 p.m.): Proscia will maintain a presence in Baltimore, board member David West Sr. said. Over the next year, the transition will see about 70 percent of the team located in Philly, with 30 percent in Baltimore.
“We will maintain a presence in Baltimore and keep aggressive ties to a top talent pool and maintain close connections to some of the nation’s top medical institutions in the greater Baltimore/DC area,” said West Sr.
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