CHF 14 million of funding for all-terrain radiology

August 29, 2018

Pristem SA has raised CHF 14 million of funding from a group of Swiss and African investors. Pristem was founded by Bertrand Klaiber, who is also its CEO, and is the first spin-off to emerge from the EssentialTech program run by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). This represents a major success for the program, which is based at EPFL's Cooperation and Development Center and which aims to develop essential technologies to combat poverty and vulnerability around the world. This successful first round is the result of an innovative and unique approach pioneered by the EssentialTech program: combining high-level technological development with innovative business models to meet fundamental human needs sustainably and on a large scale.

A world first: a radiology machine capable of operating in any location

According to the World Health Organization, two thirds of the world's population still have no access to medical imaging. This is especially problematic since it is an essential medical instrument, particularly for diagnosing tuberculosis and injuries resulting from road accidents, for example. At the same time, healthcare costs are surging all around the world, and medical imaging represents a significant proportion of those costs.

The technology devised through the EssentialTech program, which Pristem will bring to market in the next two years after recruiting specialist engineers, involves a digital radiology machine that is both robust and economical. The machine was designed to meet the needs of markets all around the world and combines both leading-edge technological solutions, meeting the highest standards of industrialized countries, with innovations allowing it to operate in low-income countries that normally lack the infrastructure for this type of technology.

The solution was also designed to achieve drastically lower total costs, in terms of the machine itself and all aspects of its life cycle (e.g., commissioning, maintenance and training).

A machine that brings together the best of Swiss and African research

More than 100 researchers, doctors, engineers, technicians and students from prestigious institutions in both Switzerland and Africa have worked on the project, which was initiated by the EssentialMed foundation and led by EPFL's EssentialTech program. Klaus Schönenberger, the EssentialTech program director, said: "I'm delighted to see the great enthusiasm for this project among the scientific, student and now investor communities. This shows that we share the same vision of universal access to essential technologies, particularly in the medical field."

The University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Western Switzerland (HES-SO) and its advanced engineering schools have worked closely with EPFL, complementing each other perfectly, to develop a pre-industrial prototype. The prototype will be presented to the public on 29 October in the presence of Swiss federal councilor Johann Schneider-Amman, in an event organized by HES-SO.

Major economic opportunities

The development of robust, sustainable and affordable solutions is a matter of great interest for all regions of the world. As Klaus Schönenberger explained: "I am particularly pleased that the start-up we spun out of the program has attracted Swiss and African investors, because this shows that it's possible to combine social impact with an attractive business model. Switzerland, with its technical and scientific skills, its quality-focused culture and its openness to the world, has what it takes to improve global access to essential technologies, and at the same time this is creating a whole new set of economic opportunities."

The EssentialTech program already has other projects under development, and this initial success is likely to be repeated as it seeks to address numerous other global problems.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Related Medical Imaging Articles from Brightsurf:

Improved medical imaging improves cancer staging
Prof. TIAN Chao's group improved the imaging quality and 3D construction of the photoacoustic imaging, and applied them to in vivo sentinel lymph node imaging.

AI techniques in medical imaging may lead to incorrect diagnoses
Machine learning and AI are highly unstable in medical image reconstruction, and may lead to false positives and false negatives, a new study suggests.

Tiny devices promise new horizon for security screening and medical imaging
Miniature devices that could be developed into safe, high-resolution imaging technology, with uses such as helping doctors identify potentially deadly cancers and treat them early, have been created in research involving the University of Strathclyde.

Advanced medical imaging combined with genomic analysis could help treat cancer patients
Melding the genetic and cellular analysis of tumors with how they appear in medical images could give physicians new insights into how to best treat patients, especially those with brain cancer, according to a new study led by TGen.

Low doses of radiation used in medical imaging lead to mutations in cell cultures
Common medical imaging procedures use low doses of radiation that are believed to be safe.

Use of medical imaging
This observational study looked at patterns of use for computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and nuclear medicine imaging in the United States and in Ontario, Canada, from 2000 to 2016.

Medical imaging rates continue to rise despite push to reduce their use
The rates of use of CT, MRI and other scans have continued to increase in both the US and Ontario, Canada, according to a new study of more than 135 million imaging exams conducted by researchers at UC Davis, UC San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente.

Two-in-one contrast agent for medical imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) visualizes internal body structures, often with the help of contrast agents to enhance sensitivity.

Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.

Scientists discover new method for developing tracers used for medical imaging
University of North Carolina researchers discovered a method for creating radioactive tracers to better track pharmaceuticals in the body as well as image diseases, such as cancer, and other medical conditions.

Read More: Medical Imaging News and Medical Imaging Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to