Clarapath Raises $32M in Additional Funding for Pathology Robotics


November 18, 2021

Clarapath, a robotics company automating the way pathology laboratories process human and animal tissues, has announced a follow-on financing extending its Series B round with an additional $16 million in funding from its previous close of $16 million. The company has now raised more than $39 million to expand its automated process for the way tissue is processed onto glass slides via “sectioning”, or cutting a cross-section of the tissue specimen.

The company’s first robotic instrument, called SectionStar, is a fully automated system that aims to revolutionize the reliability and efficiency of the pathology lab, the company said. This standardization in the quality of tissue sections is foundational for the molecular mapping of human disease and in the development of new treatment pathways.

The current process is entirely manual, non-scalable, and dependent on a shrinking workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated labor shortages, creating unacceptable delays in the delivery of timely biopsy results and driving up healthcare costs, the company said.

“Being a manual process, AI-driven algorithms for interpretation of human tissues – particularly cancer – when examined on a cellular level are vulnerable to the variability in the quality of those tissue cross sections,” said Eric Feinstein, CEO of Clarapath. “Clarapath’s SectionStar consolidates many manual cutting, quality control, and decision-making steps into one piece of equipment, resulting in better quality tissue sections, faster processing efficiencies, and lower overall costs, all while providing richer data sets on those tissue specimens.”

Feinstein said the funding will help further develop SectionStar with the goal of launching in the non-clinical market, and targeting the large clinical market as an ultimate goal. The company will use the funding to also expand the team, as well as support a sales and service effort for customers.

The company said SectionStar helps meet a critical unmet industry need for producing faster and more accurate diagnosis. “This not only vastly expands the capacity of our histology labs, but vaults histology into the realm of reproducibility and quality required for AI-driven diagnosis of disease and the development of molecular morphology-based precision-medicine therapies,” said James Crawford, M.D., Ph.D., and senior vice president and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at Norwell Health.

Within the non-clinical setting, the company said SectionStar will support the research and development of pharmaceuticals. “Conventional tissue processing based on 2D sections lacks 3D context,” said Partha Mitra, founder of Clarapath. “The undistorted, consecutive sections cut by the robotic device allows overlaying molecular and genomic markers. These data sets combined with advanced computational analyses can transform nonclinical research in diagnosing and developing therapies for cancer and other challenging diseases.”

The latest funding round included investments from The 4100 Group, East Post Road Ventures (investment arm of White Plains Hospital), Epiphron Capital, Northwell Ventures, P5 Health Ventures, and others.

For more details on Clarapath and SectionStar, visit its website here.

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