A Johnson & Johnson division focused on developing tools to combat lung cancer is partnering with a clinical decision-support startup that recently achieved regulatory clearance for an early detection tool, the companies announced Wednesday.
The Lung Cancer Initiative, a program that cuts across Johnson & Johnson's consumer, diagnostic, medical device and pharmaceutical businesses, has entered into an agreement with Optellum, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to flag patients with early-stage lung cancer, so that clinicians can intervene with treatments sooner.
Optellum received FDA clearance for its clinical decision-support software tool in March.
The software, designed to be used by pulmonologists and radiologists, analyzes CT scans and assigns prediction scores to nodules that could represent early-stage lung cancer.
Johnson & Johnson's LCI last year extended a partnership with genomics company Veracyte, which the companies initially struck in 2019 to develop Veracyte's lung cancer tests. Johnson & Johnson and Veracyte have since launched a clinical study to identify genomic differences among patients who develop lung cancer and who have lung nodules detected by CT scans.
Clinical decision-support software is a top growth category in the digital health sector, according to a second-quarter report from market research firm Mercom Capital Group.
Businesses that sell clinical decision-support software raised a collective $434 million in the quarter and are a key part of a growing digital health subsector focused on tools for healthcare providers and practices. The largest investment reported among clinical decision-support companies in the second quarter involved pathology startup PathAI, which raised $165 million in a Series C funding round.
Optellum, a privately held startup founded in 2016, has raised $1.3 million in funding to date. The startup, which is based in Houston and Oxford, England, is also looking to develop clinical decision-support tools for lung conditions including interstitial lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.