Founded in Singapore in 2013, cancer diagnostics focused medtech company Endofotonics announced they have secured an investment of $8.5 million (S$12 million) led by investors Mr Tony Tan Choon Keat, Chairman of Singapore Medical Group (SMG) and Founding Managing Director of Parkway Holdings, and Dr Beng Teck Liang, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of SMG.
The funds will be used to drive commercialization of its early gastric cancer detection system, SPECTRA IMDx, in Asia Pacific and to expand the coverage of its cancer detection technology to other organs.
Developed by the 12-men core team at Endofotonics, the SPECTRA IMDx system enables real time detection of early gastric cancer during endoscopy. According to the company, this is a world's first in miniaturizing and embedding Raman spectroscopy within an optical probe which can fit through an endoscope. Based on a Scientific Reports journal article published last year, Raman spectroscopy has emerged as a promising biochemical technique for real-time, in vivo, non-destructive detection of many types of cancer. Raman generates biochemical fingerprints reflecting a tissue’s current biological composition and activity.
Coupled with proprietary artificial intelligence, SPECTRA IMDx helps doctors identify early cancer lesions by analyzing molecular changes that typically occur beyond the stomach lining, as such cancer lesions may not be easily detected by the eye.
Endofotonics also targets to launch its SPECTRA IMDx system in Europe and selected countries in Asia in 2021.
THE LARGER TREND
The Global Cancer Observatory in May 2019 reports that gastric or stomach cancer is the seventh most common cancer in Singapore. On a global level, stomach cancer is the fourth most commonly occurring cancer in men and the seventh most commonly occurring cancer in women with over 1 million new cases in 2018, according to the World Cancer Research Fund’s website.
Endofotonics secured its Series A funding in 2016 from ZIG Ventures and SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, under the Startup SG Equity scheme.
Ark, a Singapore-based medtech enterprise focused on early cancer detection, is working on a stomach cancer blood test developed to detect early stage stomach cancer before symptoms appear, MobiHealthNews reported.
ON THE RECORD
“Leveraging on Raman spectroscopy, we have developed a platform technology that can be applied to multiple organs, giving clinicians real time information to make decisions then and there. Not only can this be applied to early cancer detection, it can be further developed to identify safety margins for dissections or resections,” said Mr Peter Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Endofotonics.