With a clinical version of PathAI‘s computer vision-based pathogen detection service still at least one year from coming to market, the diagnostic technology developer has snagged $60 million in its latest round of financing.
The company’s tech is used by doctors to analyze cell samples taken from patients to determine the presence or absence of bacterium, viruses, cancerous cells or other disease-causing agents.
These days, PathAI’s technology is used less in hospitals for patient care and more by pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs, according to the company’s co-founder and chief executive, Dr. Andy Beck.
“Our biggest focus today is a research platform; we use it to examine new therapeutics for serious diseases,” Beck says. “We see that as a really important problem for patients… accelerating how we get safe and effective medicines to patients.”
That’s an attractive market, given that pharmaceutical companies have more money than hospitals to spend on new technology.
When the company does work with pathologists, they’re using the technology for research purposes, says Beck. Any clinical diagnostic work would have to go through trials and be approved by regulators, he says.
“For this direct clinical use it’s in the one to two-year time frame,” he says.
General Atlantic led the company’s latest round, with additional capital coming from previous investors General Catalyst, 8VC, DHVC, REfactor Capital, KdT Ventures and Pillar Companies.
PathAI has grown its staff to more than 60 employees in the past year, and the company has signed partnerships with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis .
As a result of the financing, General Atlantic managing director Dr. Michelle Dipp will take a seat on the company’s board.
“PathAI’s work could radically improve the accuracy and reproducibility of disease diagnosis and support the development of new medicines to treat those diseases,” said David Fialkow, managing director at General Catalyst, in a statement.