2020-10-07| Technology

Genentech Partners with AI-based Imaging Diagnostics Provider to Fight Lung Diseases

by Daniel Ojeda
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By Daniel Ojeda, Ph.D.

On October 2nd, 2020, Imbio announced a partnership with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to develop quantitative imaging diagnostics for lung diseases. The goal of the partnership is to use Imbio’s artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for medical imaging. This could improve patients’ diagnosis, guide selection of therapies, and monitor patients’ responses.

Founded in 2006, Imbio designs proprietary algorithms that employ AI to provide a fully automated and quantitative image analysis for lung and cardiothoracic diseases. Medical imaging such as computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-ray are essential to make a diagnosis and to make decisions for treatments. Currently, almost all of the image analysis for diagnosis proposes is manually conducted by a person.

“With big data analysis and computer vision, our algorithms are able to turn standard medical images into rich visual maps of a patient’s condition and reports that provide detailed data on the type and the extent of abnormalities found in the patient images. This enables clinicians to see hidden information in the images and drive data-based, personalized patient care decisions from diagnosis to therapy tracking, to planning for procedures,” said David Hannes, COO of Imbio in a press release back in January 2020.

The partnership with Genentech does not prevent Imbio to develop or market its proprietary portfolio, which allows the company to freely continue to profit from their existing algorithms and pursue other partnerships.

“We are excited to partner with Genentech and we look forward to bringing unique solutions to the field of pulmonary imaging together. This collaboration is a great example of Imbio’s strategy to meet the growing interest by medical device and pharmaceutical companies in using imaging biomarkers and imaging AI to facilitate (the) diagnosis of respiratory diseases.” David Hannes said about the partnership.


A New Asset in Genentech’s Push for Personalized Medicines

The Roche Group, as well as Genentech, has been pursuing a personalized approach to medicine. This is the idea of tailoring treatments to each patient. Roche describes this goal in the following statement: “Our vision is to ensure that the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and even prevention of diseases will more quickly and effectively transform the lives of people everywhere – ensuring the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.”

To accomplish their vision, fast reliable biomarkers and diagnostic tools are necessary. These tests should be cheap, fast, and reliable for personalized medicine to become widely available. This partnership is a strategic move toward personalized medicine. As stated by the Global Head of Roche Pharma Partnering, Dr. James Sabry: “Imaging biomarkers have the potential to significantly improve patient diagnosis, selection, and understanding of response to therapy. ”Genentech has several therapeutic for a variety of lung diseases including cystic fibrosis (Pulmozyme), asthma (Omalizumab), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (Esbriet), and others. This partnership could lead to more effective screening of patients for early detection of disease, tracking, and modifying the response to treatment.

This is not the first time Genentech announces a push towards artificial intelligence and diagnosis. Last year, they announced in an event during the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting the use of AI techniques in the areas of ophthalmology, neuroscience, and oncology. Their goal to detect and track the onset of diseases at an earlier stage. However, the partnership with Imbio will save them a lot of time and money with research and development in lung disease.

Editor: Rajaneesh K. Gopinath, Ph.D.

Related Article: AI Powered Startup XtalPi Announces 300 Million Series C Funding



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