University of Tartu to acquire a stake in Better Medicine OÜ, a company that uses AI to diagnose cancer

  • 2024-05-24

Collaboration between computer scientists at the University of Tartu in the development of an app for cancer diagnosis will be boosted through the university's investment company UniTartu Ventures. The new agreement will give the company Better Medicine the opportunity to use the knowledge generated at the university to accelerate its growth.

Cancer incidence is projected to increase by up to 25% over the next decade, but the number of trained radiologists will not increase at the same rate. Better Medicine's AI-based app detects cancer cells in a CT scan image of a patient's lung and reduces the time it takes for specialists to reach a diagnosis. “It is as if the app gives the doctor a second pair of eyes,“ explained the company's CEO Priit Salumaa.

One of the company's co-founders is Dmytro Fishman, a researcher at the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu, which is why Better Medicine's R&D to date has already been carried out in close cooperation with the University of Tartu. According to Salumaa, continuing the cooperation through the University of Tartu's investment company UniTartu Ventures OÜ was a logical choice: "We saw in UniTartu Ventures a good new opportunity for the university to become our investor. As a start-up, involving investors is crucial for us to ensure innovation.”

According to Mart Maasik, Investment Director of UniTartu Ventures, the agreement will enhance existing cooperation even more: "With the support of UniTartu Ventures, Better Medicine will have the flexibility to accelerate its growth while continuing to develop technology at full speed. Over the next two years, the university will transfer the intellectual property generated through R&D to Better Medicine and the university will, in turn, receive a stake in the company,“ said Maasik.

While UniTartu Ventures' portfolio has so far included spin-offs from the university, Better Medicine is the first company in which the university is acquiring a stake thanks to a long-term R&D collaboration.