Project Description

Pathware: A More Accurate Path to Diagnosis and Treatment

Biopsy is one of the most critical diagnostic techniques for serious diseases, such as cancer. Pathology plays a vital role in collecting, processing, and communicating information from the biopsy sample to help doctors determine treatment strategies. The goal of any diagnosis is to get it right the first time, and unfortunately, biopsy samples do not always collect enough of a sample for doctors to make an exact determination.

Enter Pathware, an organization that wants to make sure every biopsy collected counts. We spoke with Pathware cofounder and CEO Michael Moore to learn more about his company’s approach to confirming biopsy accuracy.

Questions and Answers

What is Pathware and what was the impetus for creating it?

I first became interested in pathology when my father was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. His doctors, through no fault of their own, had to take multiple biopsies to get an adequate sample for the pathologist to make an accurate diagnosis.

My interest in this area of healthcare continued while I was in medical school. My cofounder and I had an idea to build a new type of flow cytometer—a technology used to detect and measure characteristics of a population of cells. The pathologists we were working with thought this idea would be unrealistic to implement­ and encouraged us to look for ways to verify the quality of their pathology samples instead. We went back to the drawing board and tried to solve this specific problem, and that’s how Pathware was born.

Our technology, exclusively licensed from the University of Connecticut, is nondestructive, point-of-care imaging modality that allows doctors to look at a biopsy sample in real time so they can give actionable clinical guidance while the patient is still in the room. It doesn’t replace anything downstream such as pathology labs and other diagnostic tests. Our technology simply gives doctors more to work with and reduces the need for repeat biopsies. It simplifies critical diagnostic workflows and helps pathologists increase their efficiency.

Who are your customers?

Right now, we are primarily interested in working with community hospitals. The vast majority do not have pathologists and could benefit from the quality assessment of biopsies in real time.

Our technology can also help larger healthcare systems increase their volume of work without sacrificing quality of care. It’s common for pathologists to request more adequate biopsies to make a diagnosis. Our technology allows any doctor performing a biopsy to make sure every sample is adequate before sending it to the laboratory, eliminating the need for a second, or even third, biopsy.

How did you get involved with VentureWell ASPIRE and MedHealth?

The VentureWell ASPIRE program is where we really started to learn about entrepreneurship. It was a crash course in business specifically catered to healthcare innovators, and it helped us get the support we needed early on. ASPIRE also provided networking resources and connected us to the MedHealth ecosystem.

MedHealth has helped us continue building relationships with healthcare stakeholders and investors. An organization I met with at MedHealth events actually decided to invest right before the pandemic—effectively saving our business.

What’s next for Pathware in the months ahead? What are you working toward?

We are in the midst of closing our series A funding and finishing the development of our device. We are tracking well to have verification and validation testing of our technology complete so our product will be commercial-ready by the end of next year. Last but certainly not least, we are planning to bring on some rockstar talent to help take our company to the next level.

Who is someone that you have admired during your entrepreneurial journey?

At first, it was easy to look to the super successful people like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. As I have gotten further into this process, I have come to appreciate hard work and support of my parents so much more. They were the ones who convinced me to go into the invention convention at school and have always had entrepreneurial spirits, which really sparked the bug in me at a young age.

What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out that you know now?

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. You will have significant ups and downs and your relationships will be strained. Consider your mental health needs and get support—and by that I don’t mean joining a support group with other entrepreneurs or seeking counsel from those you love. Find an unbiased third-party counselor who can listen. Your mental health is tied to your company’s success­, and both trendlines should be going up and to the right.

Fast Facts

Founded:

2017

Headquarters:

Seattle, Washington

Mission:

Eliminate the time spent waiting for a diagnosis by connecting the pathology lab directly with the patient’s bedside.

Website:

pathware.com

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