Vara, a Berlin-based startup that’s developed breast cancer screening software, has raised a €6.5 million Series A round led by OMERS Ventures. Merantix, Think.Health, Soleria Capital, and Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play also participated. Bryony Marshall of OMERS Ventures will join the board.
The machine learning software helps radiologists detect cancer in mammograms by filtering out the healthy cases from their worklist, allowing them to focus on the ambiguous cases that require urgent attention. In addition to a diagnostic aid, the platform is an end-to-end workflow and reporting system that can be used across multiple workstations.
“In screening, 97% of mammograms are healthy, so the reality is that incredibly well-trained radiologists spend the majority of their time performing assembly-line work that is repetitive and time-consuming,” said CEO and co-founder Jonas Muff. “Early detection of breast cancer is critical for survival rates, and by accurately ruling out normal mammograms we enable physicians to focus their attention on the women who need it the most.”
The German health tech company has partnered with radiology groups and teleradiology providers to bring its screening programmes across Germany, Spain, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and is “in advanced discussions to set up collaborations in the United Kingdom”. The latest investment will go toward further European expansion and figuring out a way to leverage “vast data pools to improve financial and clinical outcomes”.
Vara’s team of 25 medical specialists, engineers and entrepreneurs was initially backed by the Berlin-based venture studio Merantix and originally named after the group: Merantix Healthcare. Founded in 2018, the startup has raised €9.5 million to date.
Image: Partial snapshot of the team from Vara's website