Updated: Oct 20, 2022
As 2021 comes to an end, and with 2022 just around the corner, it’s a good time to reflect on the last year and all the changes it brought.
In the very beginning of the year, Yuval Baror and I were in the process of locking in funding for our company, Rhino Health, excited to embark on a new venture. The rationale was clear to us: in order to accelerate the impact of healthcare AI, we must enable access and foster collaboration using healthcare data. To do so, privacy and ownership must be preserved. A combination of distributed compute and Federated Learning, we believed, would be the way forward. Bring the compute to the data, and avoid centralizing sensitive information.
At that point, I was already certain that the value of Federated Learning was proven in the EXAM study, and I was itching to scale this concept to the entire industry. Yuval, with his unique experience in scaling AI at Google and several startups, already had a clear roadmap for how to build a distributed platform. All we had to do now was convince others to join us in this journey and build a company.
In hindsight, we could not have imagined a better first-year outcome for Rhino Health. We attribute that to 5 key factors that will continue to drive success as we proceed into 2022.
First, we stood up an amazing team of people who are both dreamers and doers. Our team includes engineers with experience in compute platforms, AI-enhanced workflows, cybersecurity and big-data analytics. Our team includes folks with both scientific and medical training, as well as top-tier business experience. Their collective passion for creating a positive impact on the world is what comprises the Rhino team-spirit, and we hope to maintain that as we continue to scale the company.
Second, we have forged close partnerships with hospitals and universities, including leaders in the healthcare world. Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Cambridge School of Medicine, Lahey Clinic, Assuta Medical Centers, MAR Medical Imaging Centers, DASA, National Taiwan University, Seoul National University Hospital , Johns Hopkins Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and City of Hope National Medical Center (and more!). During 2022, we will continue to grow the Rhino Health network both through large consortia as well as organically, through an already apparent network effect, while continuing to keep the researchers and clinicians in focus.
Third, we’ve managed to deliver an early impact - whether it be our early studies to validate the EXAM model in multiple international sites or our ongoing work to improve a brain aneurysm model by utilizing patient data from around the world. We have shown how we can empower a network of independent collaborators who can easily execute data science projects and AI development over a common platform, without any need to share data. We’ve also teamed up with the National Cancer Institute via the Early Detection Research Network to drive better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients. During 2022, we will continue to stand-up multiple federated networks that will be fully interoperable (and controlled by the constituents, who are front-and-center).
Fourth, we’ve validated the tech industry interest and rationale in having a ‘Rhino Health’ in the tech-stack. Both leading tech companies, such as NVIDIA who have partnered with us to bring new technology to the healthcare space, as well as cloud solution providers and leaders in high-performance-compute. More and more stakeholders recognize that our solution is a crucial way to bridge cloud and on-prem infrastructure, while resolving the user dilemma of having to adopt multiple new storage and compute solutions with the resulting risks and costs, without having to compromise on scalability and interoperability. Even as cloud adoption grows, the need for privacy preservation and interoperability between different tech stacks will not diminish. We’ve already been included as the leading Federated Learning solution in the NVIDIA AI Enterprise certification, and will continue to forge similar partnerships that will help us reach a much broader audience.
Last (but not least), the life sciences industry is teeming with interest in distributed compute systems, and more particularly, Federated Learning. Some examples include the partial-acquisition by Sanofi of pharma-focused AI-startup OWKIN, and substantial investments in technologies that are complementary to Rhino Health’s distributed platform (e.g., homomorphic encryption). We believe this is the result of more and more companies recognizing the regulatory hurdles, inefficiencies and costs of acquiring, handling and transporting sensitive medical data. We are currently in the midst of partnering with several leading device, AI-first and information technology companies, to provide the Rhino Health Platform capabilities to existing imaging data solutions, general data management tools, R&D organizations and other lifesciences players. We expect these deals to be an accelerant of further company growth during 2022.
To summarize, despite the many objective obstacles that 2021 had in store (similar to 2020…), we’ve managed to turn it into a pivotal year for Rhino Health, and we can’t wait to usher in 2022. We promise to keep you posted as we continue our quest to accelerate the impact of healthcare AI and preserve data privacy. For now - we wish everyone the best and a happy and healthy new year!
Ittai Dayan, MD
Co-founder & CEO of Rhino Health