Oncoustics advances its AI innovations in ultrasound
July 20, 2022
TORONTO and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Oncoustics, the leader in ultrasound-based tissue characterization solutions announces the initial close of a $5 million+ seed round of funding to advance its SaMD (software as a medical device) technology for the low-cost assessment of structural diseases at point of care. Oncoustics’ first products will focus on liver disease, one of the fastest-growing causes of morbidity and mortality in the world. The round is co-led by Creative Ventures and Saltagen Ventures.
Other investors in the round include NorthSpring Capital Partners, Fraser Kearney Capital Corp., Pallasite Ventures, and Dr. Chen Fong, a renowned radiologist, entrepreneur/investor and inductee into the Order of Canada for his contributions to medical technology innovation and philanthropy. With this close, Oncoustics is pleased to add Dr. Fong on behalf of Saltagen, and James Wang of Creative Ventures to its board of directors.
Oncoustics’ patented approach utilizes both the ultrasound images as well as the acoustic data derived from the raw sound signals to automatically differentiate tissue types. Every different type of tissue in the body bounces back a unique acoustic signature and Oncoustics mines these signals to differentiate healthy versus diseased tissues. Oncoustics has been collecting ultrasound signal datasets and has amassed the largest RF signal data set in the world. This hardware-agnostic approach works on any ultrasound system, including new low-cost point-of-care ultrasound systems, making this an affordable and accessible diagnostic tool.
James Wang, partner at Creative Ventures who leads AI investments, leveraging his background in computer science specializing in AI/ML, shared, “Oncoustics’ approach is unique. They mine the raw data that is typically thrown away and can use this to go beyond what can be seen by the human eye. They’re basically creating a ‘virtual biopsy’ that has vast applications in healthcare. Innovations like Oncoustics are what will help change the trajectory of our currently unsustainable healthcare system and costs.”
Leveraging the rise of new point-of-care ultrasound systems, Oncoustics takes advantage of all the benefits of these systems, including their low cost, portability and ease of use, and builds on this by guiding the data acquisition and providing easy-to-read results via a smartphone app.
“Their technique of mining and analyzing the ultrasound RF signal makes perfect sense to me, as the raw data is much richer than what is available in standard medical images,” said Dr. Fong. “This tool would make ultrasound much easier to use and would benefit millions of at-risk patients.”
Oncoustics’ first product, the OnX liver assessment solution, is focused on detecting structural liver diseases including fibrosis and steatosis (fat) that can occur in all types of chronic liver disease (CLD). CLD today affects more than 2 billion people globally and is rising dramatically, driven by a condition called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). NAFLD has grown rapidly due to the rise in obesity, metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes. UCLA Health estimates that up to 46% of the U.S. population has or is at risk of NAFLD.
“There’s a tsunami of need around detecting these types of liver diseases and our ultimate goal is to decrease or eliminate the need for high-end imaging or painful and invasive biopsies,” said Beth Rogozinski, CEO, Oncoustics. “With this new round of funding, we will accelerate our liver solutions and enable low-cost diagnostics for earlier interventions and better patient care.”
“Oncoustics has progressed and gained incredible traction since we first invested in them and has even demonstrated that their approach works on any anatomical area of the body that the ultrasound can image,” said Dr. Fong who was an angel investor through the Creative Destruction Lab. The company has several follow-on liver products in development as well as clinical data on other organ indications including prostate, kidney, breast and thyroid diseases and cancers.
The Oncoustics platform promises a whole new level of access to care with the benefits of ease of use, accessibility, affordability, and optimizing clinical workflows.
Oncoustics applies AI to raw ultrasound signals to do tissue characterization at point of care for low-cost, noninvasive surveillance, diagnostics, and treatment monitoring of diseases with high unmet clinical need. The Oncoustics solutions for ultrasound will be submitted for regulatory approval in the United States (FDA 510(k)), Canada (Health Canada medical device license) and the European Union (CE Mark). The OnX Liver Assessment Solution has not been cleared for clinical use and is For Investigational Use Only.
For further information, visit www.oncoustics.com.