SkinVision gets $7.6M to continue expanding skin cancer app

By Jonah Comstock
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Amsterdam-based skin cancer screening app SkinVision has raised $7.6 million in new funding from existing investors Leo Pharma and PHS Fund, with additional contributions from undisclosed new backers described by the company as "high net worth impact investors."

This is the second major funding raise for the company, which launched in 2012 under the name Skin Scan, after a $3.4 million round in 2015. It also received some additional funding from Leo in 2017. The company's total funding stands at $13 million.

"This funding will be instrumental in reaching our target of saving 250,000 lives by 2027," CEO Erik de Heus said in a statement. "We have seen huge growth in the past year and this investment will help us to expand our insurance provider partnerships, ensuring that as many people as possible are provided access to the technology."

SkinVision's app is currently available in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe. The company is either working with or getting ready to sign with large insurance companies in those regions, including Dutch insurer CZ and New Zealand insurer Accuro.

While SkinVision is working towards primarily offering the service via insurance providers, they also offer a direct-to-consumer option that has helped them to train their algorithms.

"The camera technology allows customers to take a photo automatically," de Heus told MobiHealthNews. "So when you hold your phone next to the lesion, the camera automatically detects the lesion and takes a photo. That photo is then run thought a whole pipeline of machine learning networks that recognize the image and rate it as high, low, or medium risk; a traffic light system. This is all done within 20 seconds and this message is provided back to the customer. If it’s high risk, within 48 hours our dermatologists can get back to the customer."

de Heus is confident that the company's algorithm is reliable, although like most companies in the space SkinVision is careful to market itself as a non-diagnostic offering that complements a dermatologist.

"The technology is about 96 percent sensitive on recognizing skin cancer, and with the dermatologist follow-up it’s even at a higher level," he said. "Our service isn’t a replacement of a dermatologist; it’s a complementary service. But what we see is, since we have implemented the service, we have not received any false negative that came through, which makes us very confident that we are in good shape in terms of identifying skin cancer."

SkinVision will also use the funding to move toward an FDA submission in preparation for a US launch.

"In 2019 we would like to enter the US market, so we are preparing for that regulatory framework and to meet the demands of the US market," de Heus said. "About 50 percent of our website visitors are coming from the US, so there’s an enormous demand from the US for this service."

The advancement of artificial intelligence is leading to a renewed interest in dermatology apps. MobiHealthNews investigated the topic in an in-depth earlier this month.