German tech firm that provides AI-powered second reads on mammograms raises $7M

A Berlin, Germany-based artificial intelligence firm that helps simplify radiologists’ work reading mammograms has raised $7 million in new funding.  

Vara announced the new capital contribution on Wednesday, with the venture investment arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pitching in the largest share. Founded in 2018 by a Swiss entrepreneur, the firm sells software that filters out healthy breast images to allow docs to focus on more severe cases, according to an announcement.

“The company is addressing one of the biggest issues that radiologists face worldwide—the laborious processes that can prevent them from prioritizing those screening mammograms that appear to show suspicious results,” OMERS Ventures Associate Director Bryony Marshall said in a statement.

Vara’s second-reading mammo service is currently certified for use in Europe, but not cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company said it plans to use the funding contribution to fuel further expansion in the EU.

Its algorithm was initially trained on one of the “world’s largest breast cancer data sets” of 2.5 million images. To date, Vara has raised nearly $10.7 million in funding, according to the announcement.