Ultromics, based on Oxford Business Park, is to collaborate with Janssen Biotech, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop an AI tool to promote the screening of patients at risk for the potential build-up of amyloid, an abnormal protein, in the heart. Without treatment, the build-up of amyloid proteins in the heart can lead to cardiac dysfunction, making it more difficult for the organ to pump blood around the body and putting the individual at risk of developing heart failure and death.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the world, with an estimated 17 million deaths each year.
Patients often have a poor prognosis due to the delay in diagnosis of AL amyloidosis, which frequently presents with non-specific symptoms that can mimic other, more common conditions. As many as 30 per cent of patients with AL amyloidosis die within the first year after diagnosis, the company said. This highlights the need for novel approaches that enable early detection.
Dr. Ross Upton, CEO and Co-Founder, Ultromics, said:“This is another exciting step on our journey to transform cardiac care pathways by further expanding our portfolio of diagnostic tools to include amyloidosis. We believe AI can be utilized to identify patients early with the aim to get patients the right treatment at the right time and ultimately improve outcomes and save lives.”
Ultromics’ EchoGo is a fully automated software as a service platform powered by AI that helps clinicians analyse ultrasound images and makes fast and accurate cardiovascular disease diagnoses that can predict clinical outcomes.
This latest collaboration follows the news in August, of Ultromics raising $33 million in a Series B funding round. The round was led by the Blue Venture Fund with participation from Optum Ventures, GV, and existing investor Oxford Sciences Innovation.
Ultromics will use the new funding to help accelerate the use of AI-enabled echocardiograms to help improve patient care, and bring improved diagnostic quality and resource savings to hospitals.
Ultromics has been working with the NHS since 2017 to train, pilot and validate EchoGo, across 30 NHS sites in one of the largest echo studies of its kind.
In 2020, Ultromics received a £2.7 million grant from NHSX to fast-track EchoGo into Trusts and make it commercially available. The goal is to introduce doctors to the benefits of cloud and ease time and resource burden, whilst ensuring accuracy and eliminating variability, one of the main issues with echo diagnosis.
EchoGo Core and EchoGo Pro are already being used and validated by several organizations, including Mayo Clinic and the Oregon Health and Science University. EchoGo Core was recently featured in groundbreaking research that showed Ultromics’ AI-generated echocardiography analysis could provide meaningful predictors of health outcomes, where manual analysis did not.
Blue Venture Fund – a unique collaboration among Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) companies, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, (a federation of 35 separate United States health insurance companies that provide health insurance in the United States to more than 106 million people), and Sandbox – to which 35 BCBS companies have committed more than $890 million across four funds, led the Series B round to help accelerate adoption of AI-enabled echocardiograms and address impact of cardiovascular disease on Americans.
Dr. Emir Sandhu, Managing Director at the Blue Venture Fund, said: “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, and Ultromics offers groundbreaking AI solutions for more accurate diagnosis.”
Dr Upton said: “Echocardiography is the most accessible, lowest cost, least-invasive, safest and most convenient means of imaging the heart.
“With Ultromics’ AI, we have proven that it can now be as accurate and effective as more expensive modalities that are not available to all patients. This trio of investors presents Ultromics with a unique opportunity to substantially scale our technology globally, so that more people can get the care they need and deserve earlier.”