Several medtech companies were recognized by Fast Company this week for being innovative.
Innovation is medtech's middle name, so it's always a nice surprise to see companies in the industry honored for being innovative. Fast Company released a list Wednesday recognizing 10 such companies in the biotech sector. Below, we highlight the companies on the list that are developing medical devices or diagnostics (excluding companies that are more on the pharma and biotech side of the life sciences industry).
Foundation Medicine develops genomic profiling assays to pair cancer patients with relevant treatments and clinical trials. The company was ranked first among the Top 10 companies in Fast Company's biotech category.
Last year Roche, which already owned a majority stake in the Cambridge, MA-based company, decided to buy the rest of Foundation Medicine in a $2.4 billion transaction that valued the company at $5.3 billion. The deal marked a turning point in Roche's relationship with Foundation Medicine, which dates back to January 2015 when Roche invested roughly $1.03 billion to acquire a majority interest in the company.
In December 2017, Foundation Medicine scored FDA approval for a first-of-its-kind companion diagnostics test. The FoundationOneCDx is designed to identify patients who may benefit from treatment with specific targeted therapies, help inform the use of other targeted cancer therapies, provide a tool for doctors to identify opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials, and help biopharma companies develop new precision drugs. For more on that test, see the story "How a New Genomic Test Could Change Cancer Care."
Ranked second among biotech companies on the list, this San Francisco, CA-based company has developed a Web platform for medical imaging to transform clinical care with new levels of diagnostic certainty.
"Artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud are powerful tools that have the potential to fundamentally change how patients are diagnosed. Our goals are to bring early and accurate diagnosis to everyone, everywhere and to assist radiologists by delivering necessary and accurate data at their fingertips to drive the best possible patient care," said Arterys CEO Fabien Beckers. "We are honored to be acknowledged by Fast Company for our leadership in healthcare innovations, and the promise our solutions hold for improving the lives of patients around the world."
Over the past year, Arterys has achieved a number of milestones, building on its vision to advance innovations in insight-driven and patient-focused clinical care. In an industry first, the company secured FDA clearance in 2018 for the Arterys Oncology AI application suite, which helps clinicians measure and track tumors or potential cancers, and easily apply radiological standards.
Ranked fourth among biotech companies on the list, Flatiron, also acquired by Roche in 2018, has developed the Health OncologyCloud platform. The technology includes an electronic medical record system for oncology, advanced analytics, a patient portal, and an integrated billing management system. The platform is designed to enable researchers to develop real-world insights in oncology.
FDA began embracing the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare last year, and Viz.ai was among the first in the category to score clearance. The San Francisco, CA-based company developed the Contact application, a type of clinical decision support software designed to analyze CT results that could notify doctors of a potential stroke in their patients. Viz.ai ranked sixth among biotech companies on Fast Company's list.
“What it’s doing is comparing the imaging features in that patient with the millions of images it has been trained on in the past, in order to identify a specific disease, which is a large vessel occlusion,” Chris Mansi MD, president and CEO of Viz.ai, told MD+DI in February 2018 after the regulatory milestone.
Once the Contact Application analyzes the CT images it sends a text notification to a neurovascular specialist if a suspected large vessel blockage has been identified. The algorithm then automatically notifies the specialist during the same time the first-line provider is conducting a standard review of the images, potentially involving the specialist sooner than the usual standard of care in which patients wait for a radiologist to review the images.
Ranked seventh on the list in the biotech category, Velano Vascular scored FDA clearance in 2017 for its PIVO device. PIVO is a single-use, needle-free blood collection device designed to attach to a peripheral IV system. The device advances an inner tube via a slider mechanism through the peripheral IV catheter system. PIVO possesses a proximal flexible tube with female luer that attaches to a blood transfer device or syringe, into which a blood sample is collected.
Lexington, MA-based T2 Biosystems recently launched its T2Bacteria Panel, an FDA-cleared test designed to identify sepsis-causing pathogens directly from whole blood in a matter of hours instead of days without the wait for blood culture. The test is one of several panels in development that run on the company's T2Dx Instrument, which is powered by miniaturized magnetic resonance technology.
“A growing number of hospitals around the world are using our innovative solutions to effectively treat patients faster with the right therapy thanks to our ability to detect sepsis-causing pathogens more rapidly than blood cultures,” said John McDonough, president and CEO of T2 Biosystems. “The launch of T2Bacteria represents a significant step forward in our mission to combat antimicrobial resistance, and reduce both unnecessary hospital expenses and sepsis-related deaths. Earning this honor from Fast Company demonstrates our breakthrough approach to sepsis management and potential to make a positive impact on both patients and clinicians through innovation.”