Quest links up with Paige for AI-powered cancer pathology tests

To help build out its own portfolio of artificial-intelligence-driven pathology tests, Quest Diagnostics has enlisted the help of Paige to develop a suite of products aimed at individual clinical oncologists as well as larger biopharma companies and their R&D efforts.

The collaboration will start with the diagnosis of solid tumors—including cancers of the prostate, breast, colon and lung—by feeding data and digitized tissue slides gathered from Quest’s AmeriPath and Dermpath businesses into Paige’s machine learning algorithms. From there, the companies plan to expand to other diseases that typically fall under the purview of pathologist and their microscopes.

While the exact financial terms were not disclosed, Quest and Fierce 15 winner Paige have outlined revenue sharing and milestone agreements—plus arrangements for the clinical testing giant to use the resulting software in its own digital pathology operations and research, pending regulatory approvals.

In the near term, the companies said they also plan to license the programs to drug developers for use in biomarker discovery and companion diagnostic tests.

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"Given Quest's vast footprint in the diagnostic space this collaboration will enable us to ensure broad adoption of the clinical products and biomarkers we're building," Paige CEO Leo Grady said in a statement.

Paige, launched as a spinout from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was one of the first to receive a breakthrough designation from the FDA for AI-powered pathology, with programs built on millions of tumor slides. Since then, it’s secured two approvals in Europe in breast and prostate cancers, and this past January the company raised $100 million in a venture round led by Casdin Capital and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

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Quest, meanwhile, has also teamed up with Grail to help roll out its upcoming liquid biopsy test for detecting early cancers and pledged to provide blood draws at its more than 2,000 patient service locations as well as through at-home visits.

Slated to debut before the end of June, the prescription Galleri test—which aims to spot the genomic signs of more than 50 different cancers at once—will be available first through partnered health systems and medical practices.