Tag: Proscia


11 Startups with JHTV Ties Rank Among Baltimore’s Best

11 Startups with JHTV Ties Rank Among Baltimore’s Best

In the last six months, Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) raised a $75 million series B, Harpoon Medical sold for $100 million and Sunayu acquired Fractal Technology. Which Baltimore startup is next?

According to Technical.ly, businesses associated with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) are leading the next generation of Baltimore startups. Last week, the publication released the realLIST to catalogue the city’s “top companies who have already shown promise.” The top six companies ranked and 11 of the 20 mentioned have ties to JHTV.


Technical.ly selected a group of startups tackling diverse challenges related to manufacturing, education, health care, social issues and more. To determine “promise,” considerations included:

  • Boldness of idea
  • Talent levels of founders and team
  • Customer base and revenue
  • Investment capital
  • Potential impact
  • Office space



1. READY Robotics
The FastForward startup based in City Garage enables small- and medium-sized manufacturers to unlock the productivity and potential of robots. The company’s software, which it installs in pre-made manufacturing robots, allows manufacturers to change the tasks their robots perform in hours, instead of days or weeks.
2. Osmosis
A venture in the 2013-2014 Social Innovation Lab (SIL) cohort, Osmosis has created web- and mobile-based interactive learning experiences and an online community to help medical school students study. The startup co-founded by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine students recently expanded into print.
3. FactoryFour
FactoryFour is a solution that automates manufacturing processes for the production of orthotics, eyewear and footwear, reducing lead time and eliminating errors. Johns Hopkins University undergraduates Param Shah and Alex Mathews co-founded the company and used a number of JHTV resources. In addition to participating in SIL’s 2015-2016 cohort, the Mount Vernon-based startup received funding and mentorship through the Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award.
4. Intelehealth
Led by Johns Hopkins University graduate student Neha Goel, Intelehealth operates in the telemedicine space and is developing a mobile app that improves access to health care for remote and underserved communities. Intelehealth was a member of the 2016-2017 SIL cohort.
5. Proscia
Operating in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Proscia is ushering in an era of computational pathology. Proscia CEO David West, who founded the company with other Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering undergraduates, aims to give pathologists a quantitative view of cancer, enabling them to improve patient outcomes. Proscia received funding and mentorship from JHTV’s Ralph S. O’Connor Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fund.
6. b.Well
B.Well’s online platform puts people at the center of their health care by simplifying access to health data, insurance and on-demand health services. The startup participated in the M-1 Ventures accelerator where it grew its pipeline 300 percent and won one of two $25,000 awards.
8. B-360
B-360 is on a mission to end the cycle of poverty and build bridges in communities through a STEM education program and advocacy program centered on Baltimore’s dirt bike culture. B-360 participated in Social Innovation Lab as a member of its 2016-2017 cohort.


Sunrise Health
Co-founded in 2016 by two Johns Hopkins University students, Sunrise Health is developing a mobile app for anonymous, text-based group therapy that increases mental health support for patients and maximizes health care providers’ efficiency. Sunrise Health participated in the 2016-2017 Social Innovation Lab cohort, received support from the Ralph S. O’Connor Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fund and the Whiting Student Initiatives Fund.
BurnAlong provides an online video fitness and wellness platform that enables users to work out with top instructors from across the country and their friends. After participating in M-1 Ventures, BurnAlong had 400 business partners and more than 3,000 members. The company also won $25,000 through M-1 Ventures.
Portable Alternative Crib
Shantell Roberts distributes safe sleep baby boxes and supplies to Baltimore families to reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome in the city. She was a member of the 2016-2017 SIL cohort, winning the $25,000 prize at the conclusion of the program.
A member of FastForward, PathoVax is developing a universal Human Papillomavirus vaccine. Co-founded by two Johns Hopkins University graduate students, the startup recently received two federal grants totaling $2.5 million that will help the company push its first product to clinical trials.

Click here to learn more about Johns Hopkins startups!



Proscia is Teaching Computers to Beat Cancer

Proscia is Teaching Computers to Beat Cancer


David West

For 150 years, pathologists have used glass slides and microscopes to analyze tissue samples, understand cancer and determine the best course of treatments. One Baltimore startup, however, is ushering this process and the whole field of pathology into an era of computational pathology.

Founded in 2014 by Johns Hopkins undergraduates from the Whiting School of Engineering, Proscia began developing data management applications that enable researchers and pathologists to upload, extract and manipulate data, and telepathology solutions that allow a large number of people to analyze the same slide at the same time from different locations around the world.

“Pathologists analyze billions of slides each year, and almost every single one of those is analyzed under a microscope,” says Proscia CEO David West. “In the next couple of years, a huge chunk of those images will be digitized before they’re looked at by a pathologist. This represents one of the biggest trends in big data in medicine ever.”

When West says big data, he isn’t exaggerating. Despite the tissue samples fitting onto a 1-inch-by-3-inch slide, their digital high-resolution images are about a gigabyte each. The large files allow researchers and pathologists to enlarge the images to 20 to 40 times their original size and clearly examine components of individual cells.

“It’s such an ungodly amount of information, and in every one of those images is a little piece of the puzzle of cancer,” West says. “What we want to do is start unlocking that.”

Proscia Image Analysis

A few months ago, Johns Hopkins signed on as a Proscia client, enabling the institution’s pathologists and other researchers to access and tap into pathology data from across the institution. Proscia’s technology also powers Johns Hopkins’ Surgical Pathology Unknowns database. Each week pathology residents receive six to eight unknown surgical pathology cases. These cases typically comprise both classical and unusual lesions seen in surgical pathology the previous week, providing a tremendous learning opportunity.

Though Proscia initially focused product development on the research market, it has increasingly invested in developing image analysis solutions that would benefit pathologists in a clinical setting. The technologies in this sector use computer vision and machine learning to enable pathologists to make more informed and more accurate decisions about the severity of a patient’s cancer and the best course of treatment.

Though Proscia has invested in this area for about a year, the market for these technologies became more attractive in April when, for the first time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first Whole Slide Imaging system for primary diagnostic clinical use in pathology. According to the FDA, this system facilitates the “review and interpretation of digital surgical pathology slides from biopsied tissue.”

“The FDA approval lays the groundwork for the transition from pathology to digital pathology to computational pathology,” says West, who graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2016 with a degree in biomedical engineering and a focus on computational biology. “It makes it a good time to be in this space.”

The promise of computational pathology

User View of Proscia

Science has little room for subjectivity, but unfortunately it still exists. West says two well-educated, experienced and successful pathologists analyzing the same tissue sample could come to two vastly different conclusions. One pathologist may determine that a tumor is likely to metastasize (spread) and want to act aggressively, while the other may not see as grave of a threat. Though pathologists do a terrific job with the information they have, West says machine learning will help them be even better.

“If a human can do a task with enough training, that means a machine can do it with enough training and perhaps more efficiently than a person,” West says. “We basically are training algorithms to look for patterns the same way a human pathologist looks for patterns.”

Proscia’s algorithms provide a quantitative view of cancer. For example, the algorithm could determine that a tumor is 51.5 percent likely to metastasize. Not only does this arm a pathologist with more data when determining treatment, it provides a standardized diagnostic procedure that reduces errors and improves patient outcomes. It also could create significant financial savings for health care providers.

Despite the promise of this technology, West says that image analysis solutions will never wholly replace a pathologist. Instead, he sees the technology as a tool that will automate certain tasks and augment a pathologist’s expertise.

“Studies have shown that combining an algorithm with human knowledge produces the best results,” West says. “You get nearly 100 percent accuracy when you do that.”

Finding success in Baltimore

Proscia has received a lot of recognition for and investments in its work. A little over a year after announcing in February 2016 that it had raised $1 million, Proscia announced another raise for $925,000.Then in June, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) awarded Proscia the Incubator Company of the Year award for Best Unaffiliated Company.

These successes followed Proscia leveraging multiple resources at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV). West, who entered Johns Hopkins hoping to build his own company, recalled how the support the university provided student startups became much more robust as he worked his way from underclassman to upperclassman and how that support contributed to Proscia’s growth.

“We went through the Ralph S. O’Connor Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fund, and that was a great experience for us,” West says of the program that supports teams of undergraduate entrepreneurs with up to $10,000 in funding and mentorship. “JHTV is a community. It’s awesome to be a part of it.”

After graduating, West decided to stay in Baltimore because of the resources available to help him build his company. Proscia has operated out of the Spark co-working space near the Inner Harbor for the past year, but West has continued to work closely with JHTV in that time.

“I can say confidently that the support for entrepreneurs and technologists coming out of Hopkins is there,” West says. “In addition to the O’Connor Fund, we made some connections to some funds that were here. I look forward to engaging JHTV more in the future.”


Interested in learning about other Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures startups? Click here!


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