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AI pathology specialist PathAI has announced a multi-year expanded collaboration agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb. The initial work within this extended agreement will focus on key translational research in oncology, fibrosis, and immunology, with an overall goal to forward these into clinical trials. PathAI develops quantitative pathology algorithms for drug discovery and development.

“We look forward to collaborating with PathAI to expand the potential application of AI in the drug development process to include translational research, clinical trials, and diagnostic advancements,” said Robert Plenge, MD, PhD, senior vice president of Bristol Myers Squibb, head of Immunology, Cardiovascular, and Fibrosis Thematic Research Center, and head of Translational Medicine.

“We feel that PathAI will be a productive collaborator given digital pathology represents a growing area for BMS, PathAI is a leader in the field, and the fact that we have a long-standing productive relationship with the company,” he added.

PathAI has inked two other notable deals already in 2022, one with GSK around NASH and a five-year strategic collaboration for new research and clinical diagnostics with Cleveland Clinic. In this latter deal, PathAI has data from more than 5 million archival samples and the Cleveland Clinic deal adds a million more to build and refine algorithms.

Bristol Myers Squibb and PathAI will use AI pathology models with the potential to de-risk therapeutic development across the Bristol Myers Squibb’s pipeline by better identifying patient populations.

In addition, the two companies plan to leverage these models to enhance patient segmentation in clinical trials across multiple disease indications. The companies are also collaborating on developing AI-powered diagnostics, most notably measuring CD8 T-cell infiltration across oncology disease areas. This biomarker has demonstrated the potential to predict response to immunotherapy and possibly inform patient treatment decisions.

Oncology is a special focus for PathAI, “Pathology is central to the patient journey in oncology,” Andy Beck, CEO of PathAI, told Inside Precision Medicine earlier this year. “While there have been big advances with sequencing and targeted therapy, there is a major area where we have not yet leveraged new technology, and that is the primary diagnosis of cancer.”

This new pact with BMS builds on the existing relationship that began in 2016 and has shown results in multiple areas. In June 2020, PathAI and Bristol Myers Squibb presented retrospective exploratory findings from completed clinical trials on AI-powered PD-L1 scoring, which identified more patients as PD-L1 positive compared to manual-based PD-L1 scoring.

In November 2021, the companies jointly presented results from PathAI’s CD8 algorithm at The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting. Most recently in July 2022, the two companies jointly published new exploratory data in the Journal of Modern Pathology, comparing the use of AI-powered algorithms to manual IHC scoring PD-L1 expression in relation to outcomes across multiple cancer types from several clinical trials.

“Given the insights generated from past collaborations, we have entered into a long-term collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb to expand our use of machine learning models,” said Beck. “We will build on our work using AI-based pathology in translational research and validate the use of this technology through clinical trials and diagnostic development. Our ultimate goal is to improve patient care through AI.”


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