The AI Platform for Breast Cancer Diagnostics
We spoke to Cristina Rossi (CEO of b-rayZ AG) who is a mother, an entrepreneur, and a data analyst. She commented: “To be an entrepreneur in digital health means having the privilege of shaping the medicine of tomorrow.”
After her masters in Physics and the PhD in Biophysics, she started her academic career in the most prestigious European universities. She is author of numerous scientific publications, received prestigious research grants, and is a medical faculty lecturer. In December 2019, she co-founded b-rayZ, a spin-off of the University Hospital of Zürich developing AI solutions for the early detection of breast cancer. The company has reached an exceptional traction with commercial, technical, and clinical success in a short time.
b-rayZ’s Universe & Solution
In 2018, Andreas Boss, Alexander Ciritsis and her were working at the Radiology Department of the University Hospital Zürich on deep learning techniques for the analysis of breast diagnostic data. It was immediately clear to them that this technology was going to revolutionize radiology. For the first time, they had a technology able to reach and even overcome the human performances in the interpretation of radiological data.
They knew that especially breast cancer diagnostics was suffering from the lack of specialists on the job market. Nowadays nearly 300 million of exams are performed globally for the early detection of breast cancer. This is a huge number that cannot be handled anymore by the few healthcare professionals in breast diagnostics. Interpreting the imaging findings is difficult and requires a long training. It is reported that 1 over 4 detectable cancer lesions are missed in clinical settings. Human errors happen and harm patients, expose doctors to high liability risks and increase healthcare costs. Thus, the team decided to create b-rayZ to bring the best standard of care to each woman, everywhere.
b-rayZ offers a revolutionary AI platform that for the first time allows personalized, flowless and sustainable diagnostics of breast cancer. The solution relies on the newest AI architectures that reveal complex patterns in medical images. Using this digital core, b-rayZ help doctors in the diagnosis of breast cancer, but also serves the whole breast units with an ecosystem of solutions that range from auditability of processes to quality assurance and real-time instructions to the team. b-rayZ entered the market in Switzerland and are now also present in Norway.
Industry Challenges & Key Trends
b-rayZ is moving in the most dynamic area of MedTech: digital health. One of the main challenges in the industry is that healthcare is quite conservative. While customers are ready to embrace innovation, there is still some inertia on the part of other important stakeholders (e.g. health insurance, healthcare institutions) which makes digitization of processes slower than it should be. This is why the team of b-rayZ has decided to be the first to address those markets that have already taken the first steps in the digitalisation of the healthcare system.
b-rayZ truly believes that there is no way around the digitalization of procedures in healthcare. The amount of data generated, the costs of human resources, the expectations of the upcoming generations of professional and of patients will be determinant for the change.
The team of b-rayZ is changing the workspace in diagnostics, connecting data and professionals, and sharing competences, which were disconnected before. Digital health makes a patient-centered medicine sustainable, and this is the future of medicine.
3 Questions to Cristina:
1) Biggest achievements to date?
Without doubts, having first paying customers has been a great achievement. It confirmed that we were on the right track and that our technology was mature. After that, we started harvesting excellent results: 8 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the technology, growing sales, and strategic partnerships.
2) What is the most important piece of advice you could give to CEOs starting out?
First, start from the clinical needs. No one needs a fantastic technology that solves problems no one has. Second, be fast. Speed is tremendously important in this industry. Third, create a diverse team able to see the business case from different perspectives.
3) How is a program such as Tech4Eva useful to you?
Tech4Eva is an amazing platform that allows to build strategic partnerships and to create a strong network with decision makers. The program has given us a huge visibility since the very early days.
For more information, visit: https://www.b-rayz.ch/