Digital pathology startup Deep Lens raises $3.2M

Deep Lens enables pathologist to study a large number of digitized slides and make cancer diagnoses without the use of a traditional microscope.
By Jonah Comstock
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Columbus, Ohio-based Deep Lens, a digital pathology startup out of Nationwide Children’s Hospital focused on cancer clinical trials, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding. Sierra Ventures led the round with participation from Rev1 Ventures and Tamarin Hill Fund.

With digital pathology, rather than examining a bio specimen with a microscope, a pathologist can study a large number of digitized slides to make a cancer diagnosis. This allows the information to be reviewed more thoroughly and easily, as well as stored in the EMR.

Pathology groups can ship slides to Deep Lens, and Deep Lens will provide them with digital versions of the slides within 48 hours. They also get access to Deep Lens’s flagship product VIPER, or Virtual Imaging for Pathology Education and Research, a cloud-based collaboration platform for pathologists.

Why it matters

VIPER, which has been in development and use at Nationwide Children’s — and a number of other partner institutions — for the past 10 years, is now being launched as a free public beta.

“VIPER has always been about empowering and enabling the pathology community, allowing them to focus on the nuanced cancer diagnoses and case-specific details that require many years of specialized medical training,” Dave Billiter, cofounder and CEO of Deep Lens, said in a statement. “It’s incredibly exciting to now leverage the evolution in machine vision technology as we launch VIPER globally, free of charge to benefit all pathologists and, in turn, their patients.”

The company is focusing on improving product workflows to facilitate collaboration between different pathologists as well as between pathologists and patients. It’s also in process of adding AI-powered image detection, cloud storage, and built-in APIs that will allow the product to integrate with other clinical tools.

What’s the trend?

Digital pathology is a hot area for investors this year. Another AI-powered digital pathology startup, Proscia, raised $8.3 million just last month. Paige.AI, which also uses artificial intelligence in cancer diagnosis, picked up $25 million from Breyer Capital in February.