Aidence, an Amsterdam-based startup applying Artificial Intelligence to the interpretation of medical images, today announced its raise of €2.25 million in seed funding from Northzone, HenQ, Health Innovations, and the medical specialists of the Haaglanden hospital group. The fresh capital will be used to strengthen its sales and technical teams.
Founded in 2015, Aidence aims to improve healthcare using Computer-Aided Diagnostics, with a first application in lung cancer. Aidence’s software enables faster, cheaper, and more accurate diagnoses of X-ray, MRI and CT images. The key enabling technology is Deep Learning, a revolutionary type of Artificial Intelligence that is capable of analysing medical images with human-level accuracy. The interpretation of medical images is currently a manual process performed by highly trained radiologists and specialists. Aidence introduces software that will reduce misdiagnosis, improve efficiency, and help to combat the shortage of radiologists, an increasing problem in many countries.
Mark-Jan Harte, the CEO of Aidence stated: “The promise of AI has been there for decades but only now are we finally capable of fulfilling it. We are convinced that Artificial Intelligence will improve patients’ lives by increasing the number of early and accurate cancer diagnoses. It will also benefit the medical specialists who are performing imaging diagnostics by reducing their workload and providing a never-tiring second reader. Based on our world-class scientific results we are working very hard to bring our lung nodule detection product to market. Our ultimate goal is to reach a level of diagnostic accuracy that matches the collective knowledge of all human experts – and then bring it to every hospital in the world.”
Michiel Kotting, Partner at lead investor Northzone said: “The team at Aidence has developed a solution with the potential to revolutionise the medical imaging market. The benefits in using Deep Learning to improve processes for healthcare professionals, and ultimately achieving better outcomes for patients, are clear. We are impressed with what Mark-Jan and his team have built, and are excited to partner with them to build the diagnostics products of the future.”
Aidence recently achieved a top-3 result in the 2017 Kaggle Data Science Bowl, a $1 million global contest to build software to predict lung cancer based on a single chest CT scan. In this challenge, Aidence competed against nearly 10,000 researchers from across the world. Aidence also currently ranks first in the scientific LUNA challenge for lung nodule detection.
The Dutch MedTech startup is leading the way in regulation and quality control of these new applications of software. It is ISO13485 certified and the first CE marking for the European market is expected in Q3 2017. Since Artificial Intelligence is new to the medical device world, Aidence is actively working with its notified body DEKRA to ensure that the regulatory approval process is ready for this new type of software.
The Deep Learning technology that Aidence uses is not limited to one type of application and Aidence is currently performing research on additional pathologies on chest CT as well as MR imaging of joints and the brain. Future applications are expected in triage and workflow optimisation, screening programs and routine clinical practice.
Aidence CEO Mark-Jan Harte further explained: “Developing applications requires a thorough understanding of diagnostic and clinical practice. For this reason, Aidence collaborates with some of the most innovative and fast growing commercial radiology and healthcare companies around the world, and we are welcoming new organisations to partner with us on the development and implementation of our solutions.”