Series A Financing Accelerates Proscia's AI-enabled Digital Pathology
By David West, Jr. | Sep 26, 2018
CEO David West, Jr. writes about the impact of Proscia's Series A financing on the company and the future of pathology
Our recent announcement of $8.3 million in Series A financing is a milestone for Proscia and, we believe, for the advancement of AI in digital pathology and healthcare.
For Proscia, this financing is an accelerant to our proven product and business model – we’ll be using this infusion of capital to fuel growth in the adoption of our core platform and accelerate the integration of clinical-ready AI algorithms to the platform.
Proscia has very quickly come a long way since it was started in a basement a few years ago. We’re already helping thousands of pathologists, oncologists, lab personnel, and researchers from hundreds of organizations change the way they look at cancer. This wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifice of many Proscians, a big community whose hard work allowed us to be extremely capital-efficient during this time, and with the financial support from people who believed in us – friends, family, and seed investors. Our gratitude for their hard work and enthusiastic support cannot be understated. We’ve come this far with a small, lean team of smart people focused on going after the market need, generating near-term wins, and grounded on strong business fundamentals. Our technology is world-class, but technology is nothing without a great business behind it.
Our approach to this market has been focused on customer adoption, revenue growth, and the development of intelligent algorithms that are more than just the beginnings of a nice research paper but instead are positioned to transform the fabric of complex laboratory operations and sophisticated healthcare technology ecosystems. Our advantage here gives us a commanding lead in the market, and the capital raised from our Series A, in combination with revenue growth, allows us to move quickly in this leadership position.
We think the world will look very different in 10 years, and we want our role as the category leader in pathology AI to be a force for good. We want to bend the universe in a direction that’s great for labs, great for pathologists, and great for patients. That’s not a sure thing, so we have to work hard to maintain our leadership position by building powerful technology and beautiful experiences that transcend mere function.
Ignited by our recent funding, we plan to triple the size of our team. The capital will help us accelerate three near-term strategic initiatives:
1. Accelerate pathology’s shift to digital. AI holds great promise for pathology, but the use of AI only becomes possible with the widespread use of digital pathology in clinical settings. Proscia wants to accelerate the shift to digital in pathology rather than sit on the sidelines. We’ll be working to deepen the digital pathology ecosystem, integrating whole slide scanners and external software systems including Laboratory Information Systems (AP LIMS/LIS) to provide a complete solution. We’ve already made a lot of progress (our software is scanner-agnostic, so we can handle images from any whole slide imaging scanner), but we plan to invest heavily in creating even tighter integration. I encourage any company that’s part of pathology’s digital ecosystem to reach out. As part of this goal to accelerate the adoption of digital, we will also be working closely with regulatory bodies.
2. Expand the scientific proof of our AI. Proscia’s team includes some of the best and brightest in medical imaging AI, and we’ve quietly made incredible progress towards the development of intelligent software in controlled settings, with a focus on a few key disease states. We’ll be taking this work over the line by doing great science on a larger scale, then telling the world about it as we have results to share. We’re rapidly expanding our scientific team, and we continue to expand our cadre of clinical data partners.
3. Prove the economics of AI. The great thing about doing cutting edge, applied research in machine learning in an industry setting is that we get to see novel technology change the practice of medicine. That’s easier said than done. Along with scientific proof, we’ll be focused on developing robust economics around the use of AI in pathology, driving commercial adoption and tackling key regulatory challenges. AI has the potential to change the economics of today’s laboratories, allowing them to boost margins that are currently razor thin. Developing clinical-ready AI is about practicing medicine and doing good business, more than just good science. The state of the art is moving from academia into commercial use, and Proscia is spearheading that charge.
We’re excited for this next step. One of the key lessons we’ve learned in building Proscia is that we must always balance the near term against the long term. There needs to be a focus on closing that next deal, to bring revenue in the door, but we also have to have an eye on the future, on what we are trying to build.
Proscia and the space we play in is dealing with very powerful technology in settings that touch the core of the human experience. We’re living in the age of information, at the dawn of a new intelligence, and it’s an incredible opportunity to be building this thing right now in 2018. The challenge ought not to be taken lightly. Read the news, and you’ll see that people and organizations often overestimate the effect of technology in the short term, while underestimating the effect of technology in the long term. That heuristic is central to the road that lies ahead, and we’re excited and humbled to pursue the journey to shape a future world we would want to live in.