C the Signs has raised £5 million of investment to move closer to its mission to create a future where every patient survives cancer.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, with the stage at diagnosis being the single most important factor affecting survival. Currently half of all patients are diagnosed in the later stages, with less than 35% surviving to five years. Yet, if diagnosed early, over 80% would survive 10 years or more.
It hopes the investment from MMC, Ataraxia and Acequia Capital, alongside notable angels including the past CEO of AXA Health, past CEO of Bupa and founder of Monzo, will be transformative in driving forward plans to scale the impact of the technology to accelerate early cancer detection and survival.
In 2021, C the Signs conducted over 100,000 patient risk-assessments and diagnosed over 6,000 patients with cancer. The system has been instrumental during the pandemic, detecting more patients with cancer compared to pre-pandemic levels.
It aims to have its technology in the hands of every GP practice in the UK by the end of 2022.
The C the Signs AI system analyses thousands of data points, using a combination of clinical signs, symptoms, risk factors and other markers, in order to spot which cancer or cancers a patient is at risk of and fast-track them to the most appropriate test or referral – in less than 30 seconds.
The firm was founded by two NHS doctors, Dr Bea Bakshi and Dr Miles Payling, following the loss of a patient due to a delayed cancer diagnosis.
“Every patient we identify with cancer early takes us one step closer to our mission of creating a future where every patient can survive cancer,” said Dr Bakshi.
“This investment will enable C the Signs to scale the impact we can have on patient survival and ensure C the Signs is in the hands of every healthcare professional.
“As a woman of colour and CEO of a tech company with 50% women and people of colour in senior leadership positions, this is also a win for representation within the industry.”
GP Dr Shameer Shah, of Enderley Road Medical Centre, said: “C the Signs is great for managing our cancer risk. I ran a middle-aged chap through the tool and followed the advice to order a chest X-ray and later sent a 2-week-wait referral to respiratory.
“It led to a lung cancer diagnosis, and he has since been operated on and doing well.”
Alexia Arts, principal at MMC Ventures, added: “Cancer is unfortunately a disease that will affect everyone with statistics showing that 1 in 2 UK people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
“Early cancer detection is notoriously difficult as it is a collection of hundreds of diseases, all presenting with different signs and symptoms.
“At MMC we talk about backing companies using technology to transform industries, but C the Signs’s technology has the ability to transform lives, aiming to solve the healthcare challenge of our time.
“We look forward to supporting Bea and Miles to build the most unique dataset of cancer presentations worldwide and to create a future where every patient is given the best possible chance to survive cancer.”