In 2017, we started Virgo with a relatively simple premise. There are about 75 million endoscopic medical procedures done in the US each year. These procedures range from colonoscopy to laparoscopic/robotic surgery to bronchoscopy, but one thing binds them together — they are performed by a physician who is watching a real-time video feed from inside their patient to make a diagnosis, apply a therapeutic, or perform surgery. What compelled us to start Virgo was that for over 99% of these procedures, the actual video feed used by the physician wasn’t being captured.
Today, Virgo is being used in over 40 hospitals and endoscopy centers in the US to systematically capture and archive endoscopy videos. Physicians are quickly recognizing the inherent benefits of having video capture as part of their standard-of-care for endoscopy.
In addition to having videos on hand for research and training purposes, we regularly hear from Virgo users who were able to consult with another physician on a challenging case or avoid the need for a repeat endoscopy when referring a patient to surgery, all because they have access to their videos in Virgo.
Today marks an important milestone in Virgo’s mission to improve patient care by developing automation and AI tools for endoscopy. We are thrilled to announce the closing of our Series A financing — led by FCA Venture Partners and including participation from Tom Williams of Heron Rock Fund, who led Virgo’s seed round. This capital will enable Virgo to scale its endoscopy video network and develop new solutions to help pharmaceutical companies decentralize and accelerate clinical trials.
This financing will usher in a new phase of growth for Virgo. By the end of 2022, we will be helping physicians worldwide capture videos from over 1 million procedures annually. We will also use this capital to expand the set of solutions we provide to our pharmaceutical partners.
Last year, we began working with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies on accelerating patient recruitment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) trials using the Virgo network. For partnered clinical trial sites, we run a machine learning algorithm, called AutoIBD, which helps research coordinators identify patients in their health system who are likely to meet endoscopic criteria for their IBD trials.
The early results are extremely encouraging — we are seeing a 5x increase in patient referrals and a 4x increase in patient randomizations. Most importantly, we are helping trial sites tap into new patient populations from community hospitals and outpatient endoscopy centers.
We look forward to working closely with our pharmaceutical partners to develop additional solutions on the Virgo platform that help them further decentralize and accelerate their clinical trials in IBD and a number of other therapeutic areas that involve endoscopy.
2022 promises to be an exciting year for Team Virgo. Over the coming months, we will be hiring software engineers, applied machine learning scientists, clinical research coordinators, customer success representatives, and sales executives. If you know talented individuals who are interested in being at the cutting edge of endoscopy, please send them our way!