Startups, Health IT

Digital pathology company exits stealth mode with $3.2M in funding

The startup, Deep Lens, is supported by seed financing from Sierra Ventures, Rev1 Ventures and Tamarind-Hill Fund.

scientist, lab, pathologist, research

Deep Lens, a digital pathology startup, has emerged from stealth mode with $3.2 million in seed financing. Sierra Ventures led the funding round, while Rev1 Ventures and Tamarind-Hill Fund participated.

In a recent phone interview, Deep Lens co-founder and CEO Dave Billiter said the money will go toward sales and marketing efforts as well as the expansion of its flagship technology, VIPER (Virtual Imaging for Pathology Education and Research).

VIPER, which is currently available as a public beta, is a cloud-based digital pathology platform. It brings together artificial intelligence and advanced pathology workflows while also enabling peer-to-peer and pathologist-to-patient collaboration.

When a pathologist gets a case, the AI can scan through images and help them quickly and accurately move through their workload.

“There’s a tsunami of data and information being put in [pathologists’] laps,” Billiter said. “It organizes all that information at their fingertips.”

VIPER has been used on various research projects and at institutions like Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic. It is now freely available to pathologists across the globe.

“We want to make it available and free to get going,” Deep Lens co-founder and president Simon Arkell said in a phone interview. “As [pathologists] become heavy users, there will be a subscription fee.”

Looking ahead, VIPER will soon include AI-powered image detection, workflow support, cloud storage, telepathology and built-in APIs.

Billiter helped invent VIPER while he served as director of informatics at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Over the course of a decade, the technology was used and refined by various pathologists. Eventually, Deep Lens exclusively licensed VIPER and its image analysis methods.

“This technology is new to the commercial market, but it has really been validated over the past 10 years,” Billiter said.

Billiter, Arkell and TJ Bowen are co-founders of the startup, which is based in Columbus. Its headquarters is in one of the incubation offices at Rev1 Ventures’ facilities.

Having exited stealth mode, Deep Lens now plans to heavily market its platform. Additionally, it intends to focus on the pharmaceutical industry and how its tech can be leveraged for clinical trial recruitment.

“From a high level, it’s game on for us,” Arkell said.

Photo: PeopleImages, Getty Images