9 healthcare outfits named among Forbes’s ‘top AI companies to watch’ in 2021

Forbes is out with its third annual AI 50, and almost a fifth of the field works in healthcare.

The magazine compiles the list by inviting nominations and using an algorithm to help judges select the 50 that best leverage AI for purposes fundamental to their respective operations—or, presumably, those of their clients and/or prospects.

To qualify, entrant companies must be privately held and autonomously run. Close to 400 met the criteria this year. The nine healthcare-specific concerns making the grade by Forbes’s lights are:

Atomwise (San Francisco). Primary aim: Drug discovery. The company’s technology has “already helped to discover promising drugs for multiple sclerosis and ebola which were successful in animal trials,” Forbes reports.

Ezra (New York City). Cancer detection on MRI scans. Forbes: “CEO Emi Gal, who is at high risk for melanoma, dreams of making a $500 full-body MRI for cancer in the next three years.”

Genesis Therapeutics (Burlingame, California). Drug discovery. “Rather than applying AI solutions for image recognition or language processing to the pharmaceutical industry, [CEO Evan] Feinberg and chief technology officer Ben Sklaroff created new AI tools specifically for chemistry.”

Intelligencia (New York City). Drug discovery. “‘Our strong belief is that biotech needs to catch up to baseball and its own Moneyball moment is here,’ says cofounder Vangelis Vergetis, referencing the 2011 film in which a small-budget baseball team used advanced analytics to outperform expectations.”

Komodo Health (San Francisco). Mass patient analytics. “The end result is a massive web of data that allows [client organizations such as] government agencies, healthcare payers and pharmaceutical firms to uncover a slew of clinical and business insights.”

Nines (Palo Alto, California). Teleradiology diagnostics. “By saving precious time otherwise spent on administrative and non-diagnostic tasks, the company says its technology allows imaging centers and hospitals to turn patients around faster.”

Verge Genomics (San Francisco). Drug discovery. “CEO Alice Zhang says many drugs that initially look promising in animal models don’t pan out when applied to humans. Verge started with human data to see how new drugs may succeed.”

Viz.ai (San Francisco). Stroke diagnosis on CT scans. “The company’s software cross-references CT images of a patient’s brain with its database of scans and can alert specialists in minutes to early signs of large vessel occlusion strokes that they may have otherwise missed or taken too long to spot.”

Whisper (San Francisco). Hearing assistance. The company “built a wireless, pocket device that uses AI to separate voices from noise. It uses data from customers to improve its algorithms and regularly transmits software upgrades back to those users.”

Full list at Forbes.com.