ArtiQ, an innovative spin-off startup of KU Leuven (Belgium) which helps doctors diagnose, treat and monitor respiratory problems has announced that it has successfully concluded its seed financing round, raising € 1 million. KU Leuven is Europe’s one of the most innovative universities. Located in Belgium, it is dedicated to research, education, and service to society.
The financing will be used to launch ArtiQ|PFT, a decision support tool that offers pulmonologists a fast, reliable and standardised evaluation of a patient’s lung function. The investors are KBC Focus Fund, the KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund, University Hospitals Leuven and private investor Bart Swaelens. ArtiQ is part of the accelerator Start it @KBC that supports innovative and scalable entrepreneurship.
“Using artificial intelligence, ArtiQ|PFT facilitates the interpretation of pulmonary function tests (PFT) and improves the diagnosis of lung diseases. This is usually done manually by expert readers,” said Marko Topalovic, CEO of ArtiQ. “The software analyses complex PFT data, resulting in an objective and reliable interpretation, with significantly better accuracy and in no time.”
The software was developed for and partly by doctors of University Hospitals Leuven. ArtiQ|PFT has been clinically validated and has been used by University Hospitals Leuven for more than a year, supporting doctors in the decision process during diagnosis and treatment. After launching the software, more hospitals, doctors and patients will be able to benefit from this technology. Currently, ArtiQ|PFT can discriminate between nine common respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and interstitial lung disease.
Wim Janssens, pulmonologist and co-founder of ArtiQ: “Pulmonary function tests provide extensive numerical outputs, and their patterns need to be interpreted within a clinical context to come to a diagnosis. Based on machine-learning algorithms, we showed that computers are twice as accurate as pulmonologists. Our AI-based software can serve as a second opinion for pulmonologists. It can be particularly helpful in recognising rare but specific patterns.”
With its cloud-based technology, ArtiQ|PFT can be coupled and synchronised with electronic patient records or directly linked to PFT machines. Upon testing their patients, pulmonologists and other clinicians receive an automatically generated report in their patient files.
ArtiQ plans to deploy its technology in multiple Belgian hospitals by the end of the year and aims for rapid international growth. In addition to commercialising the first application for pulmonologists and hospitals, ArtiQ also is working on solutions for quality control and diagnostics with spirometry in General Practice and clinical trials. Moreover, ArtiQ is investigating whether its technology can be used for other diagnostic decisions and with individualised therapy prescriptions. As such, the company addresses a clear trend in which artificial intelligence is not only used for technical data and imaging but also makes an essential contribution to clinical thinking processes concerning diagnosis and treatment.
— Press release
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