Last week, we made a small initial investment in US-based machine learning company Enlitic in our Alternatives Portfolio. Enlitic harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to read, analyse and interpret radiographic images (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, etc).
With an ageing population in the Western world, there is a pressing need to reduce rising public and private costs associated with healthcare. In addition, as we gain a better understanding of the benefits of low-cost broad-based screening for early detection demand continues to grow.
Enlitic provides such a solution. Its artificial intelligence models have the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of radiology practices through improving clinical workflows and reducing false-positive rates (which result in unnecessary follow-up and higher costs)
In addition, their technology has the potential to improve both health outcomes for patients by improving the identification of subtle, rare and incidental abnormalities. For instance, their models have been able to identify malignancies 18-24 months earlier than radiologists.
For a demonstration of their technology in use please click here.
How are these models developed?
The company collects data in the form of radiographic images, which are de-identified, then labelled by a network of qualified radiologists. This data is subsequently used to train and validate computer models to recognise and identify abnormalities.
As the volume of data used to “train” the models scales, their accuracy in terms of both sensitivity (the percentage of positive, or true cases that are identified) and specificity (the percentage of “true” positives it identifies) improves.
Above: Enlitic's technology being used to screen a chest X-ray for abnormalities (Source: Enlitic)
How large is the opportunity in front of it?
The company has huge potential. It is targeting what is potentially a multi-billion-dollar market, with the total addressable market for X-ray and CT scanning estimated at $11.6 billion (US, Europe and Japan). The potential to capture a portion of this market, therefore, could be highly lucrative and could see their technology become an entrenched part of clinical workflows.
Enclitic’s competitive advantage rests in its ability to source data to improve its models. We see that the company is well-positioned to do so, as its platform is compatible with a wide range of imaging software systems and thus can be easily integrated into existing practices and workflows.
What is the investment case?
Having a good idea and smart computer models isn’t enough, however. Building connections with industry leading healthcare companies, gaining the support of academics and leading practitioners, integrating with existing systems and equipment and finding a place in the workflow of modern medicine are all vital.
Taking advantage of several partnerships with healthcare providers globally, and leveraging other connections, Enlitic has developed a unique value offering, which will accelerate its penetration at the same time as it collects more valuable data. Following these developments Enlitic is now in sight of strong commercial revenues, providing the appropriate timing for our investment.