Dr. Mark Haacke is a man with a clear vision for the future of advanced quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI), and his breakthrough brain imaging software is poised to enable radiologists to see more clearly, in less time, than ever before.
Imagine a software application which transforms existing imaging equipment, drastically reducing the time it takes to perform comprehensive brain imaging while dramatically enhancing visualization of the scans. Previously hidden microbleeds and venous damage in the brain suddenly become visible in less time it took to perform a traditional scan, all while providing the radiologist a wealth of new quantitative information. Such images are vital to the proper diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, stroke, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Given Dr. Haacke’s brilliant career in the MRI field, it comes as no surprise that his genius is behind this visionary new technology.
Dr. Haacke, Ph.D., founder and CSO of SpinTech, is one of the top MRI physicists in the world. Dr. Haacke has invented two of the standard ways MRI collects data. He also co-wrote Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Physical Principles and Sequence Design, the standard MRI text often referred to as “The Big Green Bible.” Having published over 300 papers and having been awarded 18 patents, he’s a man who knows everything MRI. Yet, he’s also a man looking to improve what MRI can offer the world.
The Birth of SpinTech
Before founding SpinTech, Dr. Haacke ran MR Innovations for over twenty years, a company which focuses on researching, developing, licensing, and holding patents related to the MRI field. It was here that he first began developing his new imaging software platform, SPIN.
But when it was time for Dr. Haacke to bring his imaging technology to market, he saw the need to create a new company focused on commercialization and clinical adoption of the software. Dr. Haacke began working with SpinTech President and CEO Ward Detwiler over two years ago, and together they formed a new entity that would provide a fresh corporate structure and governance that would attract investors and push the product forward into the market.
Although SpinTech is a brand-new company on paper, it was born out of the decades-long expertise of MR Innovations. Furthermore, SpinTech benefits greatly from an ongoing relationship with MR Innovations, as they continue technology-focused research on a host of applications and provide a pipeline of development talent.
SpinTech’s Little Black Box
The idea of change can be suspect in any industry, and the medical field is no exception. Whether or not adoption of new technology will take off is the question mark looming over even the most brilliant new medical technologies. If adoption requires learning a new platform, installing new systems, and increased user time, adoption could be slow to nonexistent.
These facts are what led SpinTech to develop its black box processing approach. Similar to a mini PC, SpinTech’s box contains software which can be easily plugged in and used with nearly any magnet and software platform.
SpinTech configures the box for the client according to the make and model of their magnet. The software in the black box integrates directly with the existing workflow so there’s no need for the tech to learn a new system.
Many radiologists feel cost pressures because of how reimbursements have changed, and they simply cannot adopt a technology that would require more time from them. What makes SpinTech’s technology so attractive is that scan times are reduced from about 30 to 40 minutes to about 10 minutes, without an upgrade of equipment. SpinTech believes this combination of reduced scan time and enhanced diagnostic information will provide tangible economic and clinical benefits to imaging groups, helping to drive product adoption.
A Well-Researched Product
SpinTech takes research seriously. They’ve run their current imaging software through over 7,000 scans, are working with over twenty-five research sites globally, and have published over 100 papers around their technology platforms.
Now they are working with multiple pilot sites to collect validation data from the clinical setting to discover how their product impacts patient throughput to outflow, accuracy rate, the ability to detect certain diseases, patient outcomes, and treatment decisions.
Genesis Innovation Group created its cultivate(MD) funds with a singular ambition: to nurture promising medical technologies through the investment of capital and expertise. This means we are constantly on the lookout for innovative ideas which meet a market need.
Soon after we heard about Dr. Haacke’s research, we became intrigued with the idea of investing in his valuable new product.
And it turned out the excitement was mutual. SpinTech heard about Genesis through their financing advisor Terry Cross, a friend of Rob Ball and Matt Ahearn’s. After learning more about Genesis, SpinTech was thrilled with the idea of having them as a partner.
Ward Detwiler, President & CEO of SpinTech stated, “I have been really impressed with how much Genesis has been willing to put into the company beyond just capital, which is really important at this stage. What I like most about Matt and Rob is that they themselves are medical device entrepreneurs and understand the growth path for a company like ours.”
SpinTech intends to use cultivate(MD)’s funds to expand their development team to speed their next two products through the FDA process. They also intend to expand their sales and marketing team to drive adoption for their currently-approved product.
SpinTech’s first product was presented to the FDA in September of 2017 and received clearance in March 2018. They made some significant updates to the product and plan to ship to the first customers in January of 2019.
SpinTech has a number of other products they are working on, two of which they plan to submit for FDA 510(K) clearance in 2019. Their strategy is to work on two fronts: increase marketing efforts to drive adoption on their approved product and then get further products approved so that they can continuously be expanding their platform. “Our vision is to create a true imaging platform, which will host future innovations and deliver continued value to our clinical users as we grow, keeping us at the leading edge of medical imaging and ahead of our competition,” says Detwiler.
SpinTech was part of the Startup Showcase at the RSNA conference in Chicago, the world’s biggest radiology conference, which was held at the end of November 2018. They see this as being one of many great opportunities to get the word out about their smart new product, with similar showcases planned for 2019.