I asked Jonathan Ng, founder and CEO of Iterative Health (formerly known as Iterative Scopes, an AI in GI startup) why investors recently gave them $150 million in funding. We didn’t exactly get to the answer but I can fathom a thesis.
Iterative Health’s investors include the founders of Flatiron: Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg. A digital health company that advances cancer research. Pharma company Roche acquired Flatiron for $1.9 billion in 2018. Other investors of Iterative Health include Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly amongst others. Further key team members from Flatiron have been joining Iterative.
My reading of the play here is straightforward. It’s possible that investors want to repeat their thesis of Flatiron for Iterative but in gastroenterology. Big Pharma is funding AI in healthcare to develop more targeted therapy for the drugs they develop. Therefore the central premise of Iterative’s offerings today seem to be on better recruitment for clinical trials. Physicians get an ancillary. Pharma automates patient recruitment.
I came away super impressed with Jon’s unwavering vision for AI in GI: equitable healthcare. When I asked how Iterative is different from Medtronic or others who were also working AI in GI. He repeated his vision – he said the desire for equitable healthcare differentiated them.
While on a medical mission in Cambodia, it occurred to him that not all doctors are made equal. And that means patients can’t get fair access to healthcare. Computer vision and AI could change that. He took action.
Jon moved to MIT to study MBA and build on this idea. In a very short period, he developed the foundation for Iterative that went onto pave the way for AI in GI.
Here’s Jon changing gastroenterology for good. It’s reasonable to say that the future of GI hinges on the execution of his vision.
◘ The fascinating story behind starting up Iterative Health
◘ “Not using computer vision is a barrier to health equity”
◘ Why did Iterative Health enter the field of gastroenterology?
◘ How does Iterative Health differ from the other AI companies in GI?
◘ Iterative Health raised $150 million. What attracted investors?
◘ What is their next milestone?
◘ “Right now today there’s an unacceptable level of disparity in (health) outcomes”
◘ “Being able to minimize the barrier for GIs is to be able to access information”
◘ How sophisticated is computer vision in the endoscopy room right now?
◘ “For healthcare, it just takes way too long to understand our impact on patients”
◘ “Even our colonoscopy screening recommendations are generic for the population”
◘ Iterative Health’s operational model
◘ Jonathan’s views on the controversial NordICC colonoscopy study