Health Tech: Dean Bitan on How Imagene’s Technology Can Make an Important Impact on Our Overall Wellness

Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readJun 26, 2022


Don’t be afraid and never stop: Cancer is a complex disease, so developing new concepts and solutions is very challenging. Don’t be afraid to dare, to try, to face big problems and invent new concepts; there is always a way.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dean Bitan.

Following a very personal and difficult experience watching his mother battle cancer, Imagene CEO and Co-Founder Dean Bitan vowed to find a way to “do better” for other families in similar situations. He founded the company in 2020 with partners Shahar Porat and Jonathan Zalach. Bitan has extensive experience leading companies and initiatives in the tech space, including constructing the first data-driven budget planning process of the Israeli Defense Force, and creating an ultrasound-based communication venture, among other notable accomplishments.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I was born and raised in a small, rural town in the south of Israel. I was an “engineer” from a very early age and loved to disassemble and assemble things. I was always very curious and driven to solve problems, and I loved computer strategy games. In the military service, which is mandatory in Israel, I joined the elite technology unit Mazpen (Military Systems for Commanded, Control, and Management) in the IDF as part of Mamram: Center of Computing and Information Systems. Mazpen is considered the biggest program in the IDF with regards to working in the field of data analysis. Based on collective battlefield data, we developed tools that would enhance commanders’ ability to observe the data and make “educated” decisions in real time. I led some very interesting and innovative projects in this unit, which taught me that there are no limits to finding a solution. It’s all about creative thinking and daring.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One of my most interesting experiences was my recent participation in the Fortune Brainstorm Health event. Being surrounded by some of the top minds in science and health was inspiring to say the least. Having the opportunity to hear directly from other entrepreneurs about how we are at the precipice of changing the healthcare landscape on a global scale and exploring ways to drive meaningful change was invigorating.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

First and foremost, my mother. The journey I am on now began when my mother received a diagnosis of aggressive Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Upon reading the statistics, it was the first time in my life I felt paralyzed. Unsure where to turn, I spoke to one of my closest friends, who told me, “You’re an entrepreneur; put your emotions aside and do what you do.” So, I thoroughly studied her type of cancer and treatment options and went to meet the oncologist armed with everything I’d learned.

That was a turning point in my life and the start of my personal mission to leverage technology to ensure cancer patients receive the best treatment possible. My mother was my mentor. I learned from seeing how she cared about other patients even when she was in extreme pain. She wrote a book prior to losing her battle with cancer and, like a compass, it has helped lead me in recent years.

Additionally, my team at Imagene is truly remarkable, both our employees and my co-founders. I have been blessed with amazing partners. Shahar Porat (Imagene’s CTO and co-founder) and I have worked together for 10 years now and as cliché as it sounds, we spent many months in the basement of my parents’ house thinking about an idea that would make a difference. And Jonathan Zalach (CDS and co-founder), a genius who continuously helps me make sure there is always someone smarter in the room, is someone whom I appreciate beyond words. The three of us complement each other perfectly and I have no doubt we will continue to do meaningful things together in the coming decades.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein

The experience with my mother’s disease drove me forward. I keep asking tough questions in order to better understand the problem, and every step I take to solve it is also aimed at creating a better future.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The three character traits most instrumental to my success are persistence, logic and innovation. I decided to take on a huge mission. I gathered people around me from different disciplines with various strengths and together we created an organization that is driven by these traits, among others. We face big challenges and are ceaselessly persistent in working to achieve our mission. We are focused on out-of-the-box thinking and respect any innovative — or even “wild” — idea that comes to the table. These ideas lead to logic-based solutions, and come from mixing qualities, listening to each other, staying curious and having a willingness to be daring.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

Current methods of genomic testing, a key element of what allows for highly individualized diagnosis and precision medicine solutions, can take weeks for results. What’s more, it’s currently only used by a small percent of cancer patients, as it is costly and simply not available in all areas of the world. The Imagene team is working towards revolutionizing and democratizing the cancer diagnosis and treatment decision processes. Imagene has the potential to bring accurate, fast, accessible, and standardized screening to all cancer patients, and aims to become the standard for making personalized treatment decisions.

How do you think your technology can address this?

Using only a hematoxylin- and eosin-stained (H&E) biopsy image, Imagene’s deep-learning algorithms can provide a diagnosis regarding presence of a growing list of cancer mutations and biomarkers in just two minutes, and determine whether a patient is likely to respond directly to specific therapies. Current turnaround times with molecular testing average two to four weeks for a complete DNA panel, creating a bottleneck when it comes to selecting the right treatment or determining if a patient is eligible for a clinical trial.

Digital genomics is a critical catalyst in the acceleration of precision medicine, creating a wealth of crucial data that is optimizing diagnosis and driving novel therapies so that each patient receives the most individualized treatment.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

After my deeply personal experience with my mother’s cancer battle, I vowed to find a way to “do better” for other families in similar situations. Patients and their families are often thrust into making treatment decisions with little insight or data on what will work best. I believe it is the duty of our company to do whatever we can to provide each patient peace of mind, knowing that they received the right care, at the right time and right place, while fighting the biggest fight of their life.

How do you think this might change the world?

Imagene’s technology has the power to significantly alter the world of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Current cancer patient diagnosis solutions have multiple downfalls, including a dependence on tissue, and interpretation and technological challenges. It is also a time-consuming, costly, and cumbersome screening process. Our efforts will change the reality for doctors and patients, giving doctors access to crucial genomic information in real time and patients the ability to receive a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan without the frustration of lengthy delays or receiving a “one size fits all” therapy.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

The ethical and legal considerations of artificial intelligence have been discussed at length for years. I believe that dialogue will evolve as society continues deepening its dependence on this type of technology in all aspects of our lives, including healthcare.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

Learn from personal experiences: Draw on your lived experiences and expertise. Despite the agony I felt losing my mother, I’ve been able to channel that emotion into a business and platform for helping others.

Identify pain points and provide a solution: I saw firsthand how the traditional methods of diagnosing cancer fall short. And then I got to work assembling a team that had the collective skills to solve the problem.

Surround yourself with people who think differently than you: I believe that it is important to have a diverse staff. The multidisciplinary team at Imagene is made up of experts from the fields of science, clinical, and artificial intelligence. Physicians think differently from biologists, who think differently from data engineers. We brought together professionals from different disciplines to tackle complex questions from all angles.

Don’t be afraid and never stop: Cancer is a complex disease, so developing new concepts and solutions is very challenging. Don’t be afraid to dare, to try, to face big problems and invent new concepts; there is always a way.

Listen to those around you: Hear what your coworkers, patients, customers, partners all have to say. Listening is key to a broader view and understanding.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to follow their dreams. The world needs entrepreneurs who are willing to push the status quo and break barriers for the good of society.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

If I had the opportunity, I would enjoy sharing a meal with a cancer patient that overcame the disease because of Imagene’s technology. Seeing firsthand how Imagene can keep other families from experiencing the same pain my family did would bring me immeasurable joy.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I welcome readers to learn more about Imagene on our website,, and to follow us on Twitter.

They can also connect with the company via LinkedIn, including on my personal page.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.



Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator