AI-centered oncology healthcare company Imagia Cybernetics and cancer testing, treatment and monitoring company Canexia Health announced today a merger of the two companies designed to further accelerate the accessibility of oncology testing and treatment in the community setting. The combined company, renamed Imagia Canexia Health boasts four pharmaceutical company collaborations and more than 20 hospital systems and reference labs.
The merger includes and additional $20 million in funding from BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, Desjardins Capital, and PacBridge Capital. The capital will help the newly combined company continue to pursue opportunities to bring in-house genomic testing and precision oncology programs to patients in currently underserved geographies.
“Combating cancer is what Imagia set out to accomplish through its advanced AI technology, and merging with Canexia speeds up our momentum to realize that goal,” said Imagia CEO Geralyn Ochab in a press release announcing the merger. Imagia’s EVIDENS platform, with its distributed model providing onco-clinical solutions generated from real world data, is critical to our joint ecosystem’s ability to provide earlier treatment selection and recurrence monitoring.”
Ochab who has more than 20 years of experience in medical imaging systems with companies such as Toshiba and GE Healthcare, will lead the company to address the significant market opportunity in providing services to community oncology practices and regional health systems. Currently, it is estimated that roughly 85 percent of all cancer treatments are administered in the community setting, yet only 15 percent or patients are routinely tested to more accurately determine the best available, targeted treatments.
The combined company will provide a compelling case for smaller practices to bring testing and clinical decision making in house. It will provide an AI-based clinical decision support backbone to help select appropriate precision therapies for patients, patient monitoring, and a proven program that allows clinical labs to bring genomic testing in-house as opposed to using third party diagnostics providers. The result, say the companies, is an ability to combine both genomic and patient clinical data that allows targeted therapeutic selection, with results available in days not weeks.
“Targeted cancer therapies transform access to cancer treatment, patient outcomes, and health system effectiveness. Through Imagia Canexia Health these precision treatments can be available to physicians and patients around the world,” said Canexia Health Board Chair Sue Paish, who will also chair the new company. “This merger with Imagia will greatly enhance access to life saving cancer treatments and improve health equity.”
Montréal-based Imagia Cybernetics was formed in 2015 by Alexandre Le Bouthillier with his long-time friend Nicolas Chapados. Both possessed extensive knowledge of AI and optimization, learned in a previous healthcare venture. The pair began working with Prof. Yoshua Bengio, of the University of Montréal, a well-known expert in deep learning, and recruited a team of entrepreneurs, research scientists, developers, and clinical experts. They began exploring applications in computer vision and the quantitative mapping of clinical information to bring the power of deep learning to digitized health data.
Canexia Health, formerly known as Contextual Genomics, was formed in 2012. It is focused on providing oncology testing and precision medicine services in the community setting, helping clinical labs establish in-house cancer testing and increasing equity in precision oncology.