Digital Pathology Startup Deep Lens Receives $3.2 million in Funding for VIPER

Deep Lens, an Ohio-based digital healthcare startup, recently announced $3.2 million in seed financing. Funding was led by Sierra Ventures, with Tamarind-Hill Fund and Rev1 Ventures assisting as well. Deep Lens CEO and co-founder Dave Billiter claims the funding will enhance his company’s endeavors involving their digital pathology technology Virtual Imaging for Pathology Education and Research (VIPER).

VIPER is a cloud-based pathology platform that strives to gather artificial intelligence and pathology workflows to enhance physician to patient and peer to peer collaborative efforts. With VIPER, pathologists can scan new cases with the AI to assay images to quickly and efficiently get through their workload. Specifically, VIPER focuses on tumor analyses and collaborative cancer research.

Deep Lens’ site reads: “Our workflow engine allows you to manage your entire digital pathology process in one interface, and our integrated electronic pathology forms have been custom created to support almost 50 specific tumor types.”

Billiter touched on the impact of VIPER’s ability to aggregate pathology data, stating “There’s a tsunami of data and information being put in [pathologists’] laps. It [VIPER] organizes all that information at their fingertips.”

Currently, VIPER is freely accessible for pathologists around the world. Deep Lens lists applications in which VIPER has been used to be rapid central pathology review for patient enrollment, quality assurance, training and education, and biospecimen quality control. VIPER has also been used on research projects conducted by major institutions such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic.

Though it is a free system currently, Deep Lens plans to integrate subscription charges as VIPER becomes more widely used. “We want to make it available and free to get going,” said Deep Lens co-founder and president Simon Arkell. “As [pathologists] become heavy users, there will be a subscription fee.”

Billiter was involved with the creation of VIPER while he functioned as the informatics director at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, with Arkell and TJ Bowen as co-founders. Deep Lens headquarters is located in an incubation office at Rev1 Ventures’ facilities. Though the technology is relatively new to the commercial market, it has been in the works for years.

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

This $3.2 million in funding marks Deep Lens’ exit from stealth mode, and the company plans to heavily market their platform. With surplus in funding, sales and marketing efforts will expand greatly for Deep Lens and their VIPER system. The company also plans to focus its efforts on pharmaceuticals and using its system for clinical trial enlisting.

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

Sources: MedCity News, Deep Lens