In the health IT under $2 million track of MedCity INVEST’s Pitch Perfect contest, one startup stood above the rest. That company? Quantitative Radiology Solutions.
Founded in May 2013 by a computer scientist (Jayaram Udupa) and a radiologist (Drew Torigian) from the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia-based startup seeks to use its expertise in medical imaging to ultimately improve treatment for patients.
More specifically, QRS believes radiation treatment planning is too lengthy of an undertaking. The contouring process can, according to QRS CEO Joe Camaratta, take two or more hours.
QRS’ product — its Automatic Anatomy Recognition software — significantly cuts down the time it takes to recognize, delineate and identify anatomical objects and diseased tissue on MRI, CT and PET/CT images. Instead of taking hours, the process only takes 15 minutes with AAR.
This speediness is not only useful in quickening the treatment planning process, but it also improves physicians’ productivity.
“Being able to apply the technology to specific applications like radiation treatment is going to make difference in our ability to improve patient outcomes and clinician productivity,” Camaratta told MedCity in a phone interview.
And QRS has already started to do that.
A major step in its development involved securing Phase 1 STTR grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Cancer Institute in 2016, which QRS has used to further develop its AAR software. “We’re just completing that this summer,” Camaratta said. The company will soon be submitting for its Phase 2 grants, with funding to be available in March 2018.
Additionally, the startup raised $213,000 last year from Phase 1 Ventures, an accelerator program through Philadelphia’s University City Science Center.
The next portion of QRS’ development involves looking at four clinical evaluation sites: the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland, Rutgers University and Washington University in St. Louis.
“We’ve also been in conversation with a number of potential industry partners to conduct that evaluation on their platforms,” Camaratta added.
Participating in — and winning — the health IT under $2 million track of MedCity’s Pitch Perfect contest was also a crucial step for QRS. The startup is currently fundraising, but most of its activities are centered around the Philadelphia area. Pitch Perfect “gave us the opportunity to get broader exposure outside of our local environment,” Camaratta said.
Looking ahead, the company’s next major step involves bringing its initial application of technology in radiation treatment planning to market. QRS is also exploring how this technology can be applied to other areas like 3-D printing.