Quibim and Merck to develop next wave of imaging-based diagnostics for precision medicine

29 Jan, 2024
News Desk
Quibim, which has Cambridge offices at the Science Park, has teamed up with Merck KGaA to develop the next generation of precision medicine technology targeting a range of cancers.
Angel Alberich-Bayarri, Co-Founder and CEO of Quibim

Quibim operates globally to transform imaging data into actionable predictions of cancer progression and treatment response. Merck operates across Healthcare, Life Science and Electronics.

The partners are exploring how to harness the potential of biomarkers and radiomics to predict a cancer patient’s response to immunotherapy and anticipate outcomes. 

Quibim will contribute its years of expertise in utilising AI to develop predictive and prognostic models able to enhance patient stratification and contextualise potential benefits of novel therapies at a patient, dose and/or treatment level. 

Merck seeks to integrate these models as it continues to advance data-driven decision-making within its global drug development and commercialisation strategies.

Enhancing the efficiency of clinical development for cancer medicine is a critical and global challenge, particularly in light of the rapidly increasing number of cancer patients in need of personalised treatment.

According to the Global Cancer Observatory, there will be an estimated 30 million new cases of cancer worldwide each year by 2040 – up from 19 million in 2020. In response, Quibim and Germany’s Merck KGaA, are pledged to laser focus their research on finding technological solutions able to reduce costs and timelines for pharmaceutical development while also improving success rates.

Angel Alberich-Bayarri, co-founder and CEO of Quibim, said: “Our partnership with Merck KGaA is poised to be a game-changer in the field of oncology by applying our cutting-edge imaging-based methodologies. 

“We're on a mission to optimise each phase of clinical development and chart a course towards a new era in precision medicine, where data-driven insights enhance patient care and deliver more efficient, effective and tailored treatments."

Quibim has also added an industry-first cancer detection capability to its prostate tool based on AI – QP-Prostate. The updated product, which uses algorithms trained on actual pathology data as ground truth, has been given a CE mark for the European Union and a UKCA mark for the UK so it is cleared for use by clinicians in those markets.

As MRI scans have become standard-of-care for prostate cancer and populations at higher risk of the disease continue to grow, many radiology departments have not had the proper resources in place to handle the avalanche of advanced medical imagery needing to be analysed to appropriately manage sufferers. 

QP-Prostate was developed to overcome this challenge by using AI to speed up the processing of images, increase the accuracy of radiologists who identify signs of cancer and help them pass on actionable data points to oncology departments.

QP-Prostate speeds up processes without compromising on quality, with a validated international study showing that the software efficiently segments imagery of the prostate gland with 88 per cent accuracy, the company says. 

The algorithm also segments key subregions and zones and calculates prostate volume, aiding in prostate-specific antigen density calculations and fusion biopsy planning.

The latest successes bring up a remarkable hat-trick for Quibim. It recently revealed that QP-Brain – AI-based early-stage neurological disease software for quantification of early brain atrophy and lesions – had been authorised for use in the US, EU & UK.

This was effected via an FDA 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, a CE mark for the European Union and a UKCA mark for the UK.

With up to one billion individuals affected by neurological diseases worldwide, plus global increases in the number of people reaching an older age when neuro-diseases are more common, the demand for quantitative assessments to detect early-stage changes in the brain has never been higher.

Currently, the vast majority of disease detection in this field comes from qualitative analysis from radiologists and neurologists. This solely human-based approach means that neuro diseases are often only detected in their later stages.

To resolve the issue, healthcare institutions require advanced and versatile quantitative AI-based tools that can also provide secure transfer and storage of patients’ data and augment the workflow of clinicians.

QP-Brain® was designed by Quibim to facilitate quantitative analysis of patients’ brains by using an AI-based tool that automatically quantifies and displays results based on the data from MRI Scans directly in PACS. The technology measures brain regions to detect subtle alterations and provides quantitative information to healthcare professionals which, in turn, optimises the process of radiological reporting.

Quibim’s new product also provides quantification and visualisation of imaging findings. This is useful for identifying patterns of brain atrophy and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and vascular and frontotemporal dementia, at earlier stages and also makes reporting more effective.

QP-Brain® is compliant with both the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It offers hospitals a secure way of processing and analysing patient data and can be easily installed on a hospital server behind firewalls through a secure cloud architecture.