Whitespace, Pfizer UK and IBM to launch artificial intelligence in histopathology tech innovation challenge

Whitespace is launching the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Histopathology Tech Innovation Challenge, in partnership with IBM. The aim of this initiative is to help seek out a new generation of AI solutions from across EMEA to help Pfizer Healthcare Hub:London address the challenge of bringing histopathology innovations to healthcare services and accelerate digital pathology development.

Currently, much of the analysis and reporting in pathology laboratories is being performed manually. This can be an expensive, labour-intensive and time-consuming process for healthcare organisations. The development of an AI/Machine Learning (ML) Vision solution could be a potential approach in addressing such issues.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Histopathology Tech Innovation Challenge invites fast growth technology start-ups and SMEs to help develop an AI solution that can streamline processes, identify specimens and effectively assist histopathologists in reviewing and reporting individual cases. The developed technology may even have the potential capability to be used for future training and quality assessments of histopathology services.

Applicants can access IBM tools and support to create their prototypes, such as IBM Watson, Cloud object, file and structured databases, development tools, code patterns and of course IBM Cloud Platform. The successful applicants will be selected by Pfizer and IBM in November to collaborate with Pfizer on developing a proof of concept for NHS engagement in 2021.

“Pfizer is able to provide expertise to engage and collaborate with various sectors of the healthcare industry in the UK,” says Dr. Hamish Graham, Pfizer Healthcare Hub:London Manager. “Our goal is to find high potential technology companies with relevant experience in digital pathology and histology, or that have a background in developing ML Vision technology for healthcare and related industries, that want to work with pathologists to help address such challenges in the UK. The successful applicants will be given the opportunity to showcase their product to the NHS and associated data hubs.”

Deborah Threadgold, Vice President Next Generation Ecosystem, EMEA at IBM, adds: “We have seen time and again that there is no challenge too great if we combine the right capabilities and technology from partners across the ecosystem. We are proud to be working with Whitespace and Pfizer on this Tech Innovation Challenge and look forward to a new breed of advancements in AI in the UK Healthcare industry from those who take up the challenge.”

Andrew Webber, Chief Marketing Officer at Whitespace, concludes: “As is becoming increasingly the case in this day and age, ambitious and high growth technology companies have a crucial role to play in collaborating with corporates to support technological innovation. It is extremely encouraging that Pfizer and IBM share this vision as global leaders in healthcare and technology.”

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