Aussie AI diagnostics med-tech Artrya takes heart from new UK NHS status

Aussie AI diagnostics med-tech Artrya takes heart from new UK NHS status

Photo: Jesse Orrico, via Unsplash.

Just weeks out from its 26 November initial public offering (IPO) and amidst nationwide trials for its artificial intelligence-backed cardiac diagnostics software, Perth-based Artrya aorta be pleased with its latest breakthrough from the UK.

Following a successful tender bid, the company has now been accepted into the UK's National Health Service Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) framework as a supplier of artificial intelligence software and platforms.

Co-founded in 2019 by John Barrington and John Konstantopoulos, Artrya's novel technology Salix is the only dedicated coronary artery disease diagnostic support solution that provides an automated, comprehensive report to clinicians within 15 minutes, based on detection of vulnerable plaque which is a superior predictor of heart attacks.

Under the framework agreement Artrya is listed among a select, preferred, and pre-qualified shortlist of approved suppliers from which various public organisations, including 1,250 NHS hospitals, can commission services.

Related story: Heart disease AI diagnostics med-tech Artrya to list at $105m valuation

The group reports only 11 international suppliers were appointed to the framework.

Barrington said to be recognised as a supplier to the NHS SBS Framework was significant and further validated the company’s European commercialisation plans, and in particular, its focus in the UK.

"There’s an opportunity for hospitals to substantially benefit from the efficiencies AI can offer, especially with high patient demand and staff shortages," said Barrington, who is also Artrya's managing director.

"As a recognised supplier, we’re delighted Artrya can offer this support, and that UK public sector bodies can procure our services efficiently and with confidence.

"To be a UK preferred supplier is an international endorsement of Salix’s clinical credentials, and testament to the high quality of the Salix product and our world-class technical team."

Artrya’s compliance involved meeting numerous international data, privacy, clinical validation and governance standards, including demonstration of product capability, unique value, safety, insurance, and warranty.

The company anticipates the ability to sell into the UK in mid-2022. In Australia, market pilots of Salix are underway in Perth and Sydney following a partnership to run trials with Perth-based radiology practice Envision Medical Imaging.

An unrestricted launch is planned across Australia in early 2022, with the technology approved by the Thereapeutic Good Administration (TGA) as a Class 1 product, meaning it is free to be commercialised and licensed in Australia.

Barrington recently told Business News Australia radiographers are under increasing time pressure with their cardiac, computed tomography and geography (CCTA) reporting, which is focused on calcification and stenosis.

"The calcification is hard plaque in the coronary arteries. It builds up and it causes a narrowing of the arteries called stenosis," Barrington explained.

"The majority of those people who die have less than 50 per cent stenosis, so stenosis is actually not the real cause of death by heart attack. It’s an indicator, but the strongest indicator and medical research verifies the strongest predictor of death by heart attack is the presence of a soft plaque known as vulnerable plaque.

"It's described as 'vulnerable' because it’s vulnerable to break off from the coronary arteries to rupture, and when that particular type of soft plaque breaks off, that is what causes the coronary event - the heart attack."

However, he says vulnerable plaque is very difficult to identify with the naked eye.

"People have to be specially trained, but because of the difficulty in identifying it, it takes a long time to report it, and the radiologists are under great time pressure and growing pressure because of the ageing population and the focus on health and pressure to report," he said.

"That is why vulnerable plaque is not generally reported in a usual CCTA scan, whereas whereas the machine, the AI algorithms, are looking at pixels and they can identify the vulnerable plaque and report it within 15 minutes."

The technology was developed by training machine learning algorithms on CCTA scans provided by Envision, giving Artrya access to more than 20,000 scans that the team could train and validate the algorithms against.

The co-founder said early signs showed Salix had a 70 per cent accuracy at this point with the vulnerable plaque identification, compared to clinicians’ research-supported evidence that shows expert readers run at 56-69 per cent accuracy.

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