A blog from Sonosine's CEO - David Herbada
This is an exciting time for our company. Sonosine, known until today as Oxford Enhanced Medical (OxEML) has revealed its new name and fresh brand identity. With this comes the launch of our new website www.sonosine.com and three videos, one that explains our technology, another that shows the typical patient journey for our first product the Pulsar 1, and a third that maps out our brand story. You can also read all about our brand launch on our news pages.
We are a deep-tech company made up of specialists from business, industry and academia and our aim is to contribute to human welfare around the world, including those in hard to reach communities and less developed countries by developing advanced medical imaging products. Step by step we are doing this by introducing technology that has never been seen before to medical specialists. We know that this will dramatically improve the way that they can work with their patients.
We have developed the Pulsar 1, a scanner, using advanced medical imaging technology that’s set to transform people’s lives because there’s a good chance we can make it affordable and accessible for all. That also means people in less developed countries.
The Pulsar 1, currently in commercial development, creates images comparable to MRI and CT scans but it’s much cheaper, and more in line with the cost of an ultrasound scan. As CEO it’s my role to keep the company on track and maximise every opportunity, so that the business and the product becomes a success. That makes our brand launch a pivotal moment in the development of the business, as it takes us one step closer to commercialisation.
Sonosine, then OxEML, was founded in 2015 after the technology that we use in our product was developed and spun out of the University of Oxford. We have overcome a number of challenges along the way.
Sonosine has a worldwide mission, to make our new type of medical imaging scanner accessible to all. We believe that medical imaging procedures should be available and affordable to everybody, including people living in less developed economies. Our vision is to improve lives around the world by transforming the way that clinicians make a diagnosis.
Our product the Pulsar 1 is mobile and enables people to be diagnosed outside of an MRI or CT machine. It makes having a scan looking for potential issues like muscle and tendon injuries, lumps or cysts in the kidney or liver, and many other areas of the body, quicker, safer and more comfortable for patients.
Instead of having to lie down in a narrow tube inside an MRI machine after queuing for weeks, patients can take part in a consultation with a specialist and have tests that produce the same quality of image while sitting in a chair. Clinicians are also able to look at high-quality and reliable images that help them to make the best decisions.
The Pulsar 1 will dramatically reduce the cost of medical imaging testing in hospitals. In fact, clinicians may not need to send their patients to specialists for diagnostic tests at all because our product could be used at the point of care, in their surgeries or clinics. It’s also safer than MRI or CT scans because it enables clinicians to avoid exposing patients to strong magnetic fields or doses of radiation.
Inventing new technology that’s never been seen before and taking it to market is not an easy job and can take a lot of time and effort. In 2006, nine years before OxEML, now Sonosine, was established, a team of scientists at the University of Oxford, led by our founder Professor David Edwards, then Chairman of the Faculty of Engineering Science, developed new technology that they knew was set to send ripples through the medical imaging and diagnostics world. Professor Edwards is still closely involved with Sonosine, working as our chief technology officer.
The Oxford team developed a technique called Electro Magnetic Acoustics (EMA). This uses a combination of radio signals and ultrasound to effectively wobble very small volumes of tissue and detect the movement. The radio signals illuminate the area of concern and show the difference between tissue types. Ultrasound alone, cannot do this. The technique enables clinicians to see problem areas of the body and can identify the accumulation of fluid, calcification and other tissue differences. You can take a look at our new video to see exactly how this works.
As soon as EMA was developed, the team at the University of Oxford applied for core patents across the world to ensure that no one else could copy the technology and develop it. The next step was to create lab prototypes and test them followed by further clinical (in-vitro and in-vivo) tests to prove that the technique was effective and safe. By the time OxEML, (now Sonosine) was spun out of the University in 2015, all 25 core patents on the EMA technology had been granted worldwide and the company started to demonstrate that it could easily be embedded into commercial ultrasound scanners. Five service patents were later awarded.
Sonosine has not come this far without cash injections. The University of Oxford provided seed funding and a number of institutional and private investors provided more than £2.2 million in total.
We will be working throughout 2021 to reduce the time that it takes to get to market by fostering and developing our relationships with a range of different players in the medical imaging world. Our new branding and name signals an intention to step-up in 2021 and beyond, to take the Pulsar 1, through commercial development, ultimately putting it into the hands of medical specialists.
We are motivated by the drive to do this because we believe that medical imaging procedures should be accessible and affordable to all, including the billion plus population in less economically privileged countries.
One of the biggest hurdles for many medical technology companies, Sonosine being no exception, is gaining safety approvals in the country where the product will be used. Over the next few years, we plan to partner with ultrasound technology providers and embed our product into existing ultrasound machines. This should reduce the amount of time it will take to gain approval from the FDA in the US and then attain the CE mark in the UK and EU, an approval path that we are already on.
The medical imaging market in the US is worth over $13bn and that’s the first market that we plan to enter, focusing on sport medicine, trauma and orthopaedics. We will follow up by expanding into the EU, UK and Asia Pacific markets to disrupt the global $42bn+ medical imaging market.
In conclusion, I work alongside an amazing team, who have a professional and collegiate approach to achieving our collective goals. You can find out more about them here.