How VIPER Started

About The Inventors

The driving force behind the invention of the VIPER platform back in 2004 was an inspired team of innovators at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. As one of the largest pediatric oncology facilities in the United States, this hard-working team was tasked with creating an online collaboration platform so that pathologists across the world could work together on difficult cases that required expertise, regardless of their location.


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Founding Years

What came from the hard work of Deep Lens co-founder and CEO Dave Billiter, Tom Barr, who helped lead the imaging lab at NCH, and the former Director of the Cancer Center at NCH, the late Dr. Stephen Qualman, was the first version of VIPER. VIPER went on to be used on dozens of funded research projects including the Cancer Genome Atlas Project, and countless studies for the Children’s Oncology Group and others.

Developing a better workflow

This founding team came up with the concept of developing a system that mimicked the daily workflow of a pathologist, but with the innovation of doing it all electronically, focused on the areas of education and research (VIPER stands for Virtual Imaging Pathology for Education and Research).

The team thought through the concept of building a digital repository and a workflow solution that enabled a pathologist to do everything they currently did - but electronically.

In 2004 the development began, and was iterated upon for years thereafter, culminating in the spin out of Deep Lens, the AI company focused on clinical trial recruitment for hospitals and biopharma clients globally. 


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Award Winning Technology

Dave’s team at NCH won two awards with this innovative software. One regional innovation award in Ohio and then the “Health Care Heroes” award. They knew they were on to something at this point.

Following the initial development there have been years of focus and development and iterations that continue to grow with just how patients were being treated, how pathologists were being trained, and advancements in clinical trial work. Iterations included a myopic focus on the pathologist, including focus groups gathered around multi‑headed microscopes, analyzing every aspect of the pathology workflow.

Learning how pathologists would read the glass slides, the teams would go back and write code in their image analysis platform, write image recognition algorithms to mimic what a trained pathologist's eye would look at in the images - and truly innovate on the frontier of artificial intelligence.

Deep Lens has taken over the VIPER platform on an exclusive license with NCH, and the platform continues to undergo significant development around the concepts of pathology workflows, collaboration, cloud storage, and artificial intelligence along with an imaging service to help speed the adoption of cloud based technology in the fight against cancer.