Zaya AI is a start-up founded in 2020 in Bucharest by Cristian Mogodici (MBA and serial entrepreneur), Sabina Zurac (Pathology Professor, PhD), Mihai Trăscău (AI expert and AI lecturer at the Politechnica University of Bucharest) and others. The team consists of 16 professionals, from pathological anatomy researchers, machine learning engineers and software developers.

The vision of Zaya AI, is to create a virtual artificial intelligence wizard that acts as a specialized pathology expert that enhances the ability of experts to provide fast and accurate remote diagnosis. The company combines the science of pathology with artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies to better diagnose diseases and reduce diagnosis time.

Zaya AI is a new generation of diagnostic AI tools in pathology based on specialized data to reduce diagnostic time, reduce labs costs, reduce human error, and improve patient outcomes. With Zaya AI, pathologists can diagnose more cases, diagnose a case faster, and access tissue biopsy images anytime, anywhere.

Currently, Zaya AI has an impressive database of tissue images of several pathologies, approximately 500,000 cases and millions of tissue images. Zaya AI models reached similar performance to expert pathologists. Zaya AI products are technology readiness level 7 on the NASA scale (editor's note - which has 9 levels), meaning they are prototypes tested and demonstrated in an operational environment such as hospitals and pathology labs.

The end users of Zaya AI are pathologists, while the customers are hospitals, pathology labs, private medical clinics, and manufacturers of digital pathology scanners.

The problem identified by the Zaya AI team is that patients face a long waiting list before receiving an accurate diagnosis because there is a worldwide shortage of pathologists. Thus, the need would be 10 specialists per 100,000 people, while the EU average is 3 pathologists, while in Germany there are 2 pathologists per 100,000 people.

In addition, pathology diagnosis is a rather expensive practice, carried out by highly specialized doctors, which leads to increased costs for hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. Because the market has a shortage of specialists, there are diagnostic errors caused by fatigue.

Seed round of 600,000 euros

Zaya AI launches a seed round of €600,000 to be able to finance the development of its artificial intelligence solutions for commercialization, to receive CE mark and FDA clearance for a SaMD-software as a “Class II A” medical device for IVD in vitro diagnosis.

So far, Zaya has received the license to operate as a pathological diagnostic laboratory from the Romanian health authorities, there are customers using the AI platform for diagnostic purposes, and in 2022 the team received a grant of 200,000 euros from of the Innovation Norway program to develop AI models to the commercialization stage.

"Funds from the seed round will be used for the research and development of new AI models for oncological diseases, to take the necessary steps to receive the CE-mark, SaMD-Software as a medical device “Class II A” authorization from the EMA (European Agency for Medicines) and FDA authorization in the United States and to register patents or intellectual property rights for our AI models as well as obtain authorization for the necessary ISO standards," says Zaya AI founder Cristian Mogodici.

Zaya AI's total addressable market and targets

Currently the pathology services total addressable market has reached $54 billion in 2021 with a CAGR of 7%, and telepathology and AI digital pathology solutions have reached $2 billion with a CAGR of 14%. According to Zaya AI, within a few years, the digital pathology market will become the most important part of the pathology service market.

Zaya AI, target markets are the US, EU, Canada, UK, Switzerland, India, and China. Zaya aims to reach 300 customers, consisting of hospitals and pathology laboratories, in the next 5 years and revenues of $18 million.

Benefits of Zaya AI

According to the founders of Zaya AI, the product can have several benefits for market specialists:

  • Accelerates the receiving of the diagnosis by the patient
  • Reduces human errors caused by fatigue
  • Increases the productivity of pathology labs
  • Reduces costs of pathology labs
  • Assistance with repetitive tasks
  • Increasing precision in pathological diagnosis
  • Solves complex challenges in pathology diagnosis

So far Zaya Ai has been used as a telepathology platform for remote diagnosis, for AI diagnosis of tuberculosis that achieved results on par with pathologists, and for AI diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma. Zaya AI's plan is to develop 20 new AI models for the diagnosis of various oncological, dermato-pathology and infectious diseases.

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