Paragon's new company to carry its AI-powered breast cancer diagnostic buy

MRI device
The program’s image processing and diagnostic algorithms are based research from the University of Chicago and are designed to help radiologists characterize lesions found on MRI scans. (Getty/MementoImage)

Life sciences incubator Paragon Biosciences has built a new portfolio company around its acquisition of the first FDA-cleared artificial intelligence system for diagnosing breast cancer.

The newly formed Qlarity Imaging will take up the mantle for QuantX—a computer vision platform developed at the University of Chicago designed to help radiologists characterize lesions in MRI scans and other images—and the company has its own plans to further develop its use in new modalities and indications.

QuantX and its previous sponsor, Quantitative Insights, were spun out of the university’s commercialization center ahead of its 2017 de novo clearance from the FDA. 

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The program’s image processing and diagnostic algorithms are based research led by UChicago’s Maryellen Giger, vice chair for basic science research in radiology, who now serves as an advisor to Qlarity.

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“When we looked at how to best commercialize and scale QuantX … Paragon Biosciences was the perfect partner,” Giger said in a statement. “Paragon is already delivering on its promise, helping Qlarity Imaging to expand its management team, pursue new product opportunities, extend its customer base and seek additional venture financing.”

A previous clinical trial of QuantX showed the program was able to help reduce missed breast cancers by 39%, alongside a 20% improvement in overall diagnostic accuracy, according to Paragon.

“We are entering an exciting time where advances in supercomputing and machine learning make it possible for artificial intelligence to deliver on its promise for drug discovery, drug development and diagnostics,” said Paragon Chairman and CEO Jeff Aronin.

The Chicago-based Paragon counts Qlarity as its seventh company launch since 2017, and its third in the past year; it plans to supply it with the necessary capital, alongside advice on developing the AI technology into additional diagnostic tools.

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