Hologic taps Google Cloud for AI-driven cervical cancer screening collaboration

Hologic has tapped Google Cloud to help elevate its digital pathology platforms for diagnosing cervical cancer with new artificial intelligence and machine learning programs.

The medtech’s Genius cytology system digitally stacks 2D images of a patient’s cells to provide additional visual depth to glass Pap test slides and uses AI to select the scans that may be the most relevant to the pathologist’s task of spotting precancerous lesions and signs of cervical tumors. 

The automated system, capable of prepping and imaging up to 400 slides per run, is CE marked for use in Europe but currently unavailable in the U.S.

Hologic’s collaboration with Google promises to migrate the system’s data management infrastructure to the cloud, and the two companies will also work to further develop its deep learning components.

“Hologic has been at the forefront of cervical cancer screening for more than 30 years, and we are building on that legacy with this strategic collaboration,” said Kevin Thornal, president of the company’s diagnostics division. “Enhancing our use of AI with Google Cloud’s machine learning capabilities and cloud architecture is the next natural step in this journey forward.”

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While the financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed, the project comes after Hologic saw a windfall from COVID-19 testing revenues over the past year. The company saw its diagnostics sales rise 375% in the final quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, generating over $1.3 billion. 

Since then, it has put down $64 million to acquire Somatex, a German manufacturer of breast cancer biopsy markers and guidance equipment, plus another $230 million to nab genetic test developer Biotheranostics.