PathAI and Summit Clinical Research have partnered to offer an integrated clinical trial services solution for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) drug developers.

The partnership combines PathAI’s capability to develop artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools for precise, reproducible and clinically relevant liver pathology assessment with Summit’s expertise in NASH drug development and expedited trial implementation.

In addition to trial design, site activation and participant recruitment, the new solution provides NASH sponsors with wet lab, diagnostic and AI-pathology deployment services.

The partners intend to address several main challenges related to NASH drug development such as high costs for site activation, enrolment barriers and a slow turnaround time for diagnosis, as well as substantial variability and inaccuracy in scoring NASH histology.

PathAI co-founder and CEO Andy Beck said: “Our joint offering with Summit combines next-generation, AI-powered drug development tools and best-in-class pathology to increase the probability of technical and regulatory success and bring much-needed treatment options to patients.

“We are very impressed by Summit’s global thought leadership across the liver disease treatment space, and are excited by our shared mission to improve patient outcomes at scale.”

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The collaboration will leverage PathAI’s expertise in pathology services, including anatomic pathology lab capabilities that it recently acquired in Poplar Healthcare.

PathAI will also offer AI-based measurement of NASH (AIM-NASH) drug development tool (DDT), and a network of liver pathologists to create NASH consensus diagnoses.

Summit Clinical Research president Stephen Harrison said: “This collaboration introduces a groundbreaking platform of drug development technologies and services to well-established and newly founded programmes alike.”

Summit Clinical will contribute to the collaboration via its experience of backing various middle- and late-stage NASH drug development programmes.

PathAI and Summit Clinical have entered a contract with a sponsor to deliver pathology services for a Phase II clinical trial and are negotiating for multiple other trials.

In March 2021, PathAI partnered with Labcorp to deploy its algorithms in prospective clinical trials of cancer and other diseases.