Cernostics and Deciphex Strategic Collaboration – To Evaluate the Use of AI-Driven Image Analysis Tools and Technology to Improve Upon Early Detection of Cancer in Patients with Barrett’s Esophagus

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September 15, 2020

Cernostics is a privately-held company focused on delivering next-generation cancer diagnostics and prognostics, and Deciphex, a leader in the application of AI to histology applications, announced today that they have entered into a strategic collaboration to jointly evaluate the use of AI-driven image analysis tools and technology to improve upon early detection of cancer in patients with Barrett’s esophagus.

Cernostics reports this collaboration combines the technological resources of both companies and will apply these to one of the world’s largest cohorts of Barrett’s esophagus patients with clinical outcome data, including patients who progressed to esophageal cancer.

Barrett’s esophagus, which affects more than three million Americans, occurs when chronic exposure to acid from the stomach causes the esophageal cell lining to deteriorate, creating an environment for cancer. Without treatment, Barrett’s can lead to esophageal adenocarcinoma, the fastest-rising cancer in the U.S. The current approach to managing Barrett’s is surveillance, involving regular endoscopic procedures with biopsies, monitoring for disease progression, and GERD-related drug therapy to control symptoms and prevent injury to the esophagus.

Cernostics previously developed and commercialized the TissueCypher® Barrett’s Esophagus Assay – the world’s first precision medicine test that predicts risk of developing esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Its patent-protected technology platform, TissueCypher®, uniquely analyzes whole slide digital images with multiplexed fluorescence, providing greater information and accuracy than traditional subjective tissue diagnostics. TissueCypher provides actionable information to gastroenterologists, eliminating the uncertainty related to the management of Barrett’s esophagus patients.

This strategic collaboration between Deciphex and Cernostics – in part – will investigate whether histology slides may contain hidden prognostic indicators not discernible by the human eye, that can be unlocked with AI-based techniques. If successful, the companies have the option to integrate these novel indicators into a future generation of the TissueCypher Barrett’s Esophagus Assay or other commercial products.

Deciphex is a rapidly growing player in the Histology Artificial Intelligence space and has an interest in investigating the use of their AI solutions in the support of the development of histology-based prognostics for a wide array of disease applications. Deciphex plans to use this project as an example for how this approach can be leveraged broadly to enhance patient care.

Dr. Donal O’Shea, CEO of Deciphex, says, “We are excited to work with a leading player in the cancer prognostics space to progress our vision of unlocking hidden information from biopsies to enhance patient care and improve patient outcomes. We believe that AI has the power to see beyond the human eye and release previously unappreciated, high value, data from the histology specimen.”

Mike Hoerres, CEO of Cernostics, says, “We are witnessing unprecedented advances in AI-driven image analysis tools for pathology. We believe collaborating with Donal and his team at Deciphex is one of the best ways to accelerate and enhance product development for the benefit of patients, clinicians, and the payer communities.”

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