Google Partners with iCAD, Licenses Its Mammography AI Model for the First Time


Medical device manufacturer iCAD is integrating Google Health’s mammography AI technology into its suite of breast imaging AI products, the Nashua, N.H.-based company announced Monday.

The two companies are entering into a development and commercialization agreement. In fact, the agreement marks Google’s first commercial partnership to deploy its breast imaging AI model into clinical practice.

“By combining the two high performing technologies, we get a superior algorithm that can detect more cancer, reduce false positives and speed reading time,” iCAD CEO Stacey Stevens said in an interview.

Under the partnership, iCAD will validate Google’s mammography AI model and eventually incorporate it into its products for clinical use. The company said it will integrate the tech into ProFound AI (its workflow solution for the 2D mammography) in 2023. It should be noted that a regulatory approval process is required once product development has become completed.

“While these dates are difficult to predict and subject to change, iCAD estimates the availability of an iCAD cloud offering by the end of 2023 and the new AI solution with Google AI in the first half of 2024, depending on the time it takes to achieve regulatory clearance,” said Nicole Linton, Google’s communications manager for health artificial intelligence.

Once it’s cleared, the AI-equipped medical devices will be sold to hospitals, health systems and outpatient clinics, Stevens said. Google and iCAD did not disclose the terms of the partnership or whether they will share profits.

The partnership is also about improving access to breast imaging AI technology, Stevens pointed out. To advance this goal, iCAD will use Google Cloud’s infrastructure to deploy its technology. Using the cloud will make these tools accessible to more women, “especially women who may live in areas of the world where there are infrastructure challenges and hardware constraints,” she said.

Google selected iCAD as its partner for the first licensing of its mammography AI model because of iCAD’s “legacy of leadership” in the breast imaging AI space, according to Linton. She also said that iCAD has a well-established install base, as ProFound AI is the most widely used breast imaging AI product on the market today.

The medical device company has an install base of about 7,500 licenses of its AI technology for mammography, Stevens pointed out.

But iCAD certainly isn’t the only company selling AI technology for breast imaging. There are plenty of companies developing AI not only for mammography, but across all other imaging modalities — including Holigic, Imagion Biosystems and ViewRay.

“We’re the only vendor that offers a full portfolio of AI,” Stevens declared. “That includes breast cancer detection, automated breast density assessment, as well as being the first and still the only company to offer a short term, breast cancer risk assessment AI tool that can assess a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer in the next year. It has around 80% accuracy.”

Photo: public domain image from the National Cancer Institute

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