As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow more sophisticated, the possibilities of its usage continue to expand. From creating original art good enough to beat humans in a competition, to powering an actual signed recording artist, the technology is already being harnessed in some truly exciting ways.

Now, in a new development, AI is being used to help a medtech company tackle early-stage lung cancer.

Optellum, an Oxford based medtech startup, has raised $14m in a Series A funding round for its AI platform. The company uses AI to diagnose and treat early-stage lung cancer. The earlier the detection of lung cancer, the earlier the treatment.

Each year, 1.8 million people die from lung cancer worldwide, according to Optellum. Sadly, the current survival rate is just 20%. This is due to late diagnoses and treatments after the cancer reached an advanced state.

“Lung cancer is an urgent public health crisis and Optellum’s ground-breaking approach utilising AI to accelerate early detection and intervention may fundamentally alter the healthcare community’s approach to combating this disease,” Oliver Keown, managing director of Intuitive Ventures, one of Optellum’s leading investors in this funding round, said.

Optellum’s product is the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic. It is the world’s first FDA-cleared AI decision support to help increase the accuracy and speed for diagnosing and starting treatment of lung cancer.

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By GlobalData

The product also reduces unnecessary and invasive procedures such as biopsies on patients with non cancerous lesions.

Jason Pesterfield, CEO of Optellum, and Vaclav Potesil, Co-Founder and CBO of Optellum told Verdict: “The platform identifies and tracks at-risk patients with suspicious lesions on the lungs by applying AI to ‘read’ any radiology report across the health system, then helps lung specialists make optimal clinical decisions enabled by Lung Cancer Prediction AI.

“This is a digital biomarker based on imaging AI Radiomics, which turns a standard CT scan – already available in every modern hospital – into a personalised malignancy score.”

Plans to expand the AI medtech platform include personalised therapy decisions, integrating imaging with molecular data, liquid biopsies and even robotics.

The company confirmed it is now well positioned to begin accelerating commercial deployment in the UK and the US.

It’s the only solution which has secured FDA & CE mark approval, which allows Optellum to use the platform in clinical care as the medtech sector continues to boom.

Funding in the medtech space has been steadily increasing

Pesterfield and Potesil believe the medtech expansion is “enabling a true revolution in precision medicine.”

“Advanced technologies continue to expand in medtech including robotics, imaging and digital health, as well as in biopharma including liquid biopsies and targeted drug therapies,” Pesterfield and Potesil said.

“This intersection of technology and healthcare is driving more investment into the medtech space, and especially into Artificial Intelligence as a key enabling force in precision oncology.”

Optellum’s AI early stage lung cancer tech follows recent news of another AI platform in medtech.

Verdict previously reported on the Belfast startup AMPLY, who raised £900,000 for its drug discovery platform to solve problems with multi-drug resistant pathogens using AI.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.