Proscia is moving pathology from the glass slide into the digital age.
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Pathology has been generally unchanged for 150 years. The process involves taking a piece of tissue–such as from a biopsy–putting it on a glass slide and examining it under a microscope.
Pathologists look for patterns of disease, such as cancer, determine how advanced it might be and the best treatments to consider. Slides are often examined once and stored away, providing opportunity for billions to be scanned into an image library, David West, CEO of Proscia, told Crunchbase News.
Digital pathology, on the other hand, is a young science. The field gained attention in the United States in 2017 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution, which creates, views, manages and interprets digital slides.
“It’s incredible how analog this space is,” West said. “It’s the last ‘-ology’ to go digital, so this is really in the first inning.”
Philadelphia-based Proscia, a provider of digital and computational pathology tools, secured a $23 million Series B round of funding that will be used to accelerate the adoption of digital pathology globally. Scale Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Hitachi Ventures. The new round brings the company’s total funding to $35 million since being founded in 2014, including a $10.3 million Series A in 2018, according to Crunchbase data.
“Digitization has swept through almost every domain of health care, and we are now seeing its revolutionary impact on pathology,” said Alexander Niehenke, partner at Scale Venture Partners, in a written statement. “Proscia is a high growth company with a unique platform-plus-AI approach that is enabling it to capitalize on a multi-billion-dollar market opportunity.”
Proscia’s Concentriq software creates high-resolution images of tissue biopsies and uses artificial intelligence applications to not only improve pathologist workflow, but enable laboratories, health systems and pharmaceutical companies to gather new insights and breakthroughs in order to improve patient outcomes.
Following the company’s Series A in 2018, it focused on regulatory clearance, receiving approval in Europe last year. Proscia did receive approval this year from the FDA under its emergency use authorization due to the global pandemic keeping people out of laboratories.
The company’s latest capital infusion will go toward achieving scale, commercial product development, data and securing formal FDA approval, West said. He also intends to grow the team by two or three times in the coming quarters.
The pathology market is a $30 billion market, and West expects digital pathology to be the standard in the next five years, which will present a multibillion-dollar opportunity as more laboratories create images.
In 2020, the company grew approximately 11 times in revenue year over year. Although West wouldn’t comment on the growth trajectory, he did say he is bullish about 2021, given the market tailwinds the company was experiencing even prior to the global pandemic.
“We are expanding into life sciences and have 10 of the top 20 companies using our platform, and I want that to be all 20 in the next few years,” he added. “Glass sides represent gigabytes of research, and we are building out the tools, technology and capabilities to help customers.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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