2021-05-28| StartupsTechnology

Memorial Sloan Kettering AI spinout Partners with a Fortune 500 Company to Advance AI-powered Cancer Diagnosis

by Isha Kapoor
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On May 25, New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering’s artificial intelligence (AI) spinout announced a new collaboration with Quest Diagnostics to build a suite of AI-driven pathology tests aimed at improving and expediting cancer diagnoses and other diseases that rely on pathological assessment.

The collaboration pairs Paige’s proprietary leading machine learning capabilities to analyze pathology diagnostic data arising from Quest and its AmeriPath and Dermpath businesses to uncover novel biomarkers of cancer and other diseases. Initially, the collaboration will start with the diagnosis of solid tumors- including cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, and lung. Eventually, the companies plan to expand to other diseases that typically fall under the purview of pathologists and their microscopes.

In theory, AI can make cancer diagnoses faster and cheaper, changing the paradigm of image analysis. However, the technology is only beginning to get established outside of research settings. AI can identify known patterns in tissues that characterize disease as well as identify new biomarkers, including those that are not necessarily detected by the naked eye.

Since AI systems improve with exposure to new data, the data from Quest’s deep subspecialized expertise is poised to enhance Paige’s efforts to discern new insights that may improve cancer diagnosis and patient care.

While the exact terms are not revealed, the duo has sketched their revenue sharing and commercial milestones. That includes using resulting software products in Quest’s pathology operations, licensing, and marketing to accelerate biomarker discovery, drug research, and companion diagnostics, pending regulatory approvals.

Kristie Dolan, General Manager, Oncology franchise at Quest, said the goal is to build a suite of products that “make precision medicine clinically accessible, actionable and economical.”


Paige – A Pioneer in AI-Powered Pathology

In 2019, Paige was the first company to receive an FDA breakthrough status for AI-powered pathology, with programs built on millions of tumor slides. Later that year, it signed a revolutionary deal with Dutch electronics conglomerate Royal Philips to create AI applications for pathology laboratories.

Since then, it has secured two approvals in Europe in breast and prostate cancers, and this past January, the company reeled in $100 million in a venture round led by Casdin Capital and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Now, “given Quest’s vast footprint in the diagnostic space, this collaboration will enable us to ensure broad adoption of the clinical products and biomarkers we’re building,” Paige CEO Leo Grady said in a statement.

To make great accomplishments together, the partners plan to strike deals with biopharma companies to support biomarker discovery, drug R&D, and companion diagnostics, giving them the means to raise funds while working on getting AI-powered products to market.

Quest, meanwhile, has also partnered with GRAIL to advance the latter’s prescription-based liquid biopsy test, Galleri, that can detect genomic signs of more than 50 different cancers. With their latest partnership, Quest and Paige would be looking to advance software products to impact the real-world use of AI in cancer diagnostics.

Related Article: 10 Precision Oncology Companies to Look Out for


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