New Startup Imagenomix Launches to Improve Access to Cancer Testing

Imagenomix Logo

TOV is excited to announce the launch of Imagenomix, a new startup that aims to deliver rapid and affordable cancer diagnostic results through advanced AI capabilities so patients receive effective, targeted treatments for their specific cancer type. The company was founded by NYU Langone Health’s Dr. Aris TsirigosDr. Matija Snuderl, and Dr. Daniel Orringer, and Travis Wold has been brought on as CEO to lead the venture.

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they must begin treatment as soon as possible to ensure the best chance of survival. Traditional non-targeted chemotherapy is an option, but there are now more effective therapy drugs on the market that “target” the specific genetic mutations in tumors and stop them from driving cancer growth. However, a patient’s cancer must be tested to show that it has the mutation before the patient can start on the targeted drug.

The current standard of next-generation sequencing (NGS) cancer testing requires tumor samples collected during surgery or biopsy to be sent to a lab for analysis. It can take between three to four weeks for the report to come back, which is often too long to delay starting targeted treatment (targeted treatments bring a personalized approach to each cancer). In addition to the long wait time, testing costs an average of $6,000, making it inaccessible to many patients, and up to 26 percent of tumor samples sent to the lab for testing have an insufficient amount of tissue. With these three major barriers in place, it is estimated that only about 20 percent of Americans diagnosed with cancer get appropriate molecular testing, and only 2 percent of patients get NGS cancer testing globally.

Imagenomix’s platform, IGX Predict, is a SaaS cancer predictor that leverages AI to create cancer testing that is less expensive, faster, and easier to use than the standard method of sending samples to a lab. IGX is based on patented intellectual property for mutational prediction from digital images that was developed at NYU Langone Health and is backed by five published studies that show that accurate diagnostic information can be provided in just minutes.

“The seed of this idea was planted when I realized that my pathology colleagues could just look at a tumor sample under a microscope and predict what would be a driver of that cancer,” says Tsirigos. “I knew there was a need for improved cancer genetic testing and I suspected that a computer could be trained to see the same patterns and trends and predict mutations in tumors more efficiently using AI.”

IGX can be installed like an app on any digital pathology scanner, which can already be found in most hospitals. To run a test, the pathology lab scans a cancer slide with the digital scanner, IGX runs its proprietary algorithm, and a report is delivered to the doctor in just three minutes. IGX testing can be run on 100 percent of confirmed cancer slides, eliminating any delay from insufficient tissue samples. The use of AI also significantly reduces the cost of testing, from $6,000 to around $200, making the service much more affordable and accessible. “Cost and turnaround time are the major factors preventing access to this important cancer testing,” says Wold. “The molecular testing labs have all arrived at the same high price for testing and there has been no push to make these services more affordable. Imagenomix wants to disrupt the market and the status quo so that cancer patients can receive the treatments that are going to give them the greatest chance of survival.”

“Imagenomix is not just in the business of technology; we’re in the business of hope,” says Snuderl. “We are passionate about bringing clarity and direction to patients worldwide by ensuring that every individual receives timely information critical to their health journey.”

Imagenomix worked closely with Technology Opportunities & Ventures to file patents on the innovation and license the intellectual property from New York University (NYU). The team also utilized resources at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute’s (IE) Leslie eLab in preparation for its launch.

The company has assembled a multidisciplinary team of AI experts, molecular pathologists, and oncologists who are now working on improving the technology, raising funding, and developing partnerships to help bring the product to market.