CHF 4 million financing round for medtech startup b‑rayZ
Zurich (Switzerland) — b‑rayZ AG, a spin-off of the University Hospital Zurich (USZ) based in Schlieren (Switzerland), has closed an oversubscribed Series A financing round of over four million Swiss francs with leading investors from the life sciences and IT sectors. The financing round was led by LifeCare Partners, Protagon AG and Convergence Partners and supported by the Eckenstein-Geigy Foundation, the Swisspreneur association and several private investors. — Cancer diagnostics should thus be significantly improved with AI technology.
Founded in 2019 by Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Boss (senior physician at USZ Radiology), Prof. Dr. Cristina Rossi (data analyst and MR physicist) and PD Dr. Alexander Ciritsis (AI medical scientist and data analyst), b‑rayZ is developing a unique and revolutionary AI-based platform to assist radiologists in the early detection of breast cancer. The b‑box system from b‑rayZ has a CE mark and is used commercially in leading breast centers in Europe. With the funds from the Series A round, b‑ray‑Z intends to expand distribution in additional European markets and achieve FDA approval for the United States. It also plans to develop new products for gynecologists and radiologists based on its proprietary AI platform.
AI from b‑rayZ revolutionizes radiological diagnostics
Low image quality and inadequate diagnosis in dense breast limit radiologists’ ability to diagnose breast cancer at a very early stage. b‑rayZ has developed an AI-based platform that supports the daily work of radiologists in mammography by assessing image quality and breast density in real time. Cristina Rossi, CEO and co-founder of b‑rayZ comments, “Our AI technology helps to significantly improve the quality of breast cancer diagnostics by analyzing mammograms in real time. The next generation product enables automatic detection of early-stage lesions on mammography and ultrasound, which are often missed or misdiagnosed in breast cancer patients. Our easy-to-implement AI platform is not only suitable for all imaging modalities in breast cancer, but also for all oncology applications in radiology.”
Every 14 seconds, a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer
In 2020, more than 2.3 million women worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 of them died from it. “Every 14 seconds, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer somewhere in the world. Since 2008, the global incidence of breast cancer has increased by more than 20% and, regrettably, the mortality rate has increased by 14%. With our platform, we can save thousands of lives through the earliest possible diagnosis and subsequent support in the selection of a personalized therapy,” Cristina Rossi continued. The b‑rayZ system not only enables quality-controlled mammography to significantly reduce late diagnoses, but also saves more than 25% time in the process and nearly 50% of previous quality assurance costs. The effectiveness of b‑rayZ’s deep learning algorithms in daily diagnostics has already been clinically proven with more than 35,000 patients successfully examined by leading radiologists.
“When we met the team at b‑rayZ, we were immediately won over by their expertise and technological approach. The developed AI platform is suitable for rapid and cost-effective diagnosis of a wide range of cancers. In addition, we are absolutely fascinated by b‑rayZ’s unique capabilities to create a revolutionary virtual marketplace for the exchange and preservation of radiological knowledge and expertise. We are convinced of the long-term success of the b‑rayZ software platform as well as the highly experienced and enthusiastic management team,” adds Dr. Gerhard Ries, Managing Partner of LifeCare Partners.
“b‑rayZ is becoming an emerging leader in AI-powered cancer diagnostics and workflow SaaS. What sets the company apart from many competitors is its deep clinical background and exclusive access to high-quality data. The SaaS platform will enable improved cancer care and help reduce the cost of diagnosis and therapy,” added Mikael von Euw (photo © Convergence Partners), deal lead at Convergence Partners.
“We invested in b‑rayZ because we believe the importance of digital health is growing globally, they have one of the best AI teams in the world, but also because they have such a deep understanding of radiology and the clinical validation required to usher in this new era of cancer diagnosis,” explains Severin Weiss, Chairman and founder of Protagon AG.
Incorrect breast cancer diagnoses due to human error harm patients, expose physicians to high liability risk, and increase healthcare costs. b‑rayZ is transforming breast cancer diagnostics with its breakthrough AI technology for faster and better diagnoses. b‑rayZ’s success is driven by a commitment to saving women’s lives through early breast cancer detection. Every woman, everywhere. www.b‑rayz.ch.
About Convergence Partners AG
Convergence Partners AG (“Convergence”) is a Swiss HealthTech venture capital firm actively supporting the internationalization of its portfolio companies in the four largest healthcare markets USA, China, India and Germany. Convergence, which has a presence in Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Hong Kong, was founded in 2018 by experienced healthcare industry players and venture capitalists with the aim of combining technological excellence in the EU with great international scale-up and exit potential. Convergence focuses on later-stage investments in digital health, medical devices and diagnostics. Current major investment themes include mental health, women’s health, and computational biology. www.convergence-partners.ch.
About LifeCare Partners GmbH
LifeCare Partners is an independent investment advisory firm that provides financing to private and public life science companies. LifeCare Partners addresses the entire life science industry with a special focus on medical technology, diagnostics, biopharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, industrial biotechnology, biomaterials, e‑health and bioenergy. The LifeCare Partners team, based in Basel, Switzerland, has successfully invested in more than 50 life science companies in recent years, a large number of which are already listed on the stock exchange or have been acquired by leading life science companies. www.lifecare.partners.
About Protagon AG
Protagon AG is an investment company that focuses on seed and growth financing. The digital revolution is changing all industries at a rapid pace and promises solid returns with sustained momentum for years to come. This underpins Protagon’s belief that traditional companies will continue to be challenged by new digital startups, with technology companies increasingly taking the helm. www.protagongroup.com.