Memorial Sloan Kettering and Paige.AI


MSK was recently in the news regarding our relationship with a technology spin-off company called Paige.AI.

The MSK board and leadership believe that this pioneering work has the potential to improve the diagnosis and care of cancer patients around the world. MSK is proud to be at the forefront of this important innovation in cancer research and believes collaboration with industry is essential to bring new advances to patients.

Computational Pathology has the power to revolutionize the way cancer is diagnosed. But to be successful, it requires novel technology, coupled with funding and infrastructure of companies that can take the technology, validate and improve it, build it to scale, and ultimately take a product to market. A program of this size and cost would not be possible for MSK or any single institution to conduct on its own.

A faculty member at MSK invented novel machine-learning algorithms in computational pathology. Paige.AI is a company that had the funding, expertise, and business model to bring these advances to market.  This led to MSK’s decision to take its intellectual property and enter into a licensing agreement. We believe in this effort and are hopeful it will succeed in bringing about significant advances in cancer diagnosis.

Here is some information that was not clear in recent news stories:

  • No patient tissue, patient slides, or protected health information has been or will be shared with Paige.AI. The patient slides are stored and remain in MSK’s possession.
  • Only digital images and diagnostic data, both of which are stripped of patient identifiers, are shared to further develop machine learning tools.
  • There are several similar computational pathology efforts underway across the country that have emerged from academic medical centers and have faculty founders.
  • Individual MSK faculty, who are inventors or contributors of licensed intellectual property, can share in the proceeds.  
  • The research and sharing of images and data complies with MSK rules and legal requirements.

MSK recognizes that conflicts of interest can exist when faculty-led start-ups collaborate with academic medical centers. The risks and benefits of the relationship with Paige.AI were vetted by independent members of the board and management.

Some facts about MSK’s relationship with Paige.AI:

  • All individuals with an interest in the formation of Paige.AI — including MSK board members and faculty — have management plans that prevent them from participating in MSK decisions involving the company.
  • As part of the licensing agreement, the Department of Pathology will receive funds for sponsored research in the department.

Any revenue generated based on MSK’s ownership in the company will be reinvested back into research at MSK, with special consideration given to the Department of Pathology.