Pr3vent Receives Funding for AI-System Diagnosing Newborn Eye Disease

Pr3vent, Inc., a Palo Alto startup, has recently received funding for their AI system that screens images of newborn babies’ retinas to detect eye conditions. Bringing in $1.5 million, the Series A funding was led by InFocus Capital Partners, an investment firm that focuses on companies dealing with diseases in the eye. This funding comes in the wake of a $1 million seed round with Trousdale Ventures and Skyview Ventures.

Up to 9% of newborns are diagnosed with pathological conditions in the eye that can cause life-long vision impairment if untreated. Among these pediatric eye complications are hemorrhages and abnormalities that can lead to cancers such as retinoblastomas. With certain rural areas lacking professionals in ophthalmology, diagnosing these conditions before symptoms occur is particularly difficult.

Pr3vent’s diagnostic tool is the first to integrate AI into diagnosing pediatric eye disease, offering a diagnostic tool for these areas lacking expertise. The system uses an algorithm to analyze noninvasive images of the infant’s retina to identify pathologies instantly.

Pr3vent has a commercialization agreement with Mednax, a medical group present in over 4,000 hospitals in the country that is also the largest provider of infant hearing screening.

“From a practical point of view that’s huge because it means we will get to the customers, the patients and the baby much faster,” said Jochen Kumm, Pr3vent CEO.

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Market research firm Frost & Sullivan claims leaders in healthcare feel AI will make a strong impact this year. The firm predicts by that the market for AI in healthcare will reach $1.7 billion by the end of the year, a 68.5% increase of compound annual growth rate through 2022.

“InFocus Fund I is proud to lead the current round of funding for Pr3vent,” said Ron Weiss, MD, managing partner of InFocus Capital Partners. “We value the company’s innovative AI platform and understand the importance of helping it succeed. Their creation is at the forefront of AI technology in ophthalmology, and we believe it will help prevent avoidable vision loss in children.”

Pr3vent is the product of former Stanford University students Darius Moshfeghi and Kumm. Moshreghi Is a practicing ophthalmologist and claims to have had patients suffering from eye disease that could have caused less visual impairment if identified sooner.

“We are committed to building the future of AI in ophthalmology and changing the way healthcare providers detect, diagnose and treat eye disease in children,” said Moshfeghi. “InFocus Capital Partners’ Series A financing will help accelerate the processes of developing our revolutionary imaging system for early detection of preventable vision loss in newborns.”

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With Kumm’s experience in developing computational healthcare tools, the two devised an idea for software that detects eye pathologies early in pediatric patients to control visual impairment later in life. The AI platform they created was trained using hundreds of thousands of infant retinal images. Kumm reports the system to be 97% accurate in screening patients for retinal abnormalities.

Pr3vent is following suit of many other digital health startups leveraging AI in diagnostic procedures. Among these companies is IDx, an Iowa-city based startup covered on DocWire that received FDA clearance for their AI diabetic retinopathy tool last year.

Sources: AP News, MedCity News