See original story here Densitas Inc. announced today that it has received regulatory clearance for its automated breast density software, DM-Density. DM-Density has received regulatory clearance from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and will be available through the EnvoyAI Platform. Australia has approximately 12 million women and 1.7 million are screened for breast cancer using mammography every two years. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian women aged 50-74, with 300 new cases for every 100,000 women. Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer mortality in Australian women aged 50-74, with approximately 45 deaths per 100,000 women. The Australian Government has increased its commitment to the early detection of breast cancer by recently expanding the BreastScreen Australia target age to include women 70-74. Phillip Cahill, Director of Diagnostic Imaging Australia, EnvoyAI’s Australian distributor, will launch DM-Density into the Australian market. “We are pleased to be able to offer Densitas’ software in Australia, as it fills a need for radiologists looking for a reliable and standardized breast density solution. Densitas automatically reads and categorizes each mammogram, determining a patient’s breast density category, in a matter of a few seconds. The deployment of the Densitas algorithm on the Envoy AI platform is a natural fit that radiologists will find to be seamless,” said Mr. Cahill. “We are excited that doctors and patients in Australia can now benefit from our advanced machine learning algorithms to assess breast density,” said Mohamed Abdolell, CEO of Densitas. “Our entry into the Australian market marks further expansion of our technology globally.” About Densitas ( Densitas develops advanced imaging analytics technologies powered by machine learning that deliver actionable insights at point-of-care for high quality personalized breast health.  Our products address the key challenges facing breast imaging today, including mammography quality, workflow efficiencies, compliance with national guidelines and standards, and delivery of appropriate care at sustainable costs. About EnvoyAI ( EnvoyAI facilitates the streamlined distribution and hospital implementation of trained machine learning algorithms via a vendor neutral distribution platform. EnvoyAI provides a developer platform, integrations, and an open API for algorithm developers, technology partners, and end users. EnvoyAI also works with distribution partners to make algorithms on the platform available to a wide footprint of hospitals and, ultimately, to physicians. ContactAlex Morris]]>

ENTREVESTOR: ABK Raised $9M in Equity in August

See original story here ABK Biomedical has raised more than $9 million in an over-subscribed round of equity funding that closed last August.  The larger equity base has allowed the company to borrow $3 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund. The Halifax-based medical device maker revealed that it closed the Series A funding round – one of the largest in Atlantic Canada last year – during discussions about its latest borrowing from the AIF, a fund operated by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. ABK is working to improve a process used to kill some forms of tumour: tiny beads cling to tumours, depriving them of blood flow and thereby shrinking or killing them. The company hopes that its first product – which is now awaiting regulatory approval in the U.S. – will be one of the first beads on the market that can be seen by x-ray, and this will help doctors assess how well the treatment is working. As well as helping to finance regulatory applications, the company said the new funds will help it to manufacture its products in Nova Scotia once it receives regulatory clearance. “The AIF funding announced yesterday will be supporting some of the most advanced medical device manufacturing capabilities in this region, and will help us to succeed as an Atlantic Canadian medical device company that will manufacture locally and sell novel life-saving products globally,” said CEO Bob Abraham in an email Friday. It had been known that ABK was raising money, though the size of the round was surprising. Abraham said the company was originally after $7.6 million in funding but it attracted more commitments than expected, with most of the funding coming from the U.S. and Asia. Innovacorp, which had invested in the company previously, contributed $1.1 million to the round. ecognition of the value of our portfolio of imageable embolic products in development, the great team we had assembled and importantly, the recognition of the significant support ABK receives in Atlantic Canada through organizations such as ACOA,” said Abraham. ABK – which last raised funding in 2014 through the Halifax-based First Angel Network and Wilmington Investor Network of North Carolina – was one of several Nova Scotian startups to close funding rounds of $8 million or more last year.  Halifax’s ManifoldAffinioMetamaterial Technologies and Liverpool, NS-based Aqualitas all closed major rounds. (The Aqualitas round may be considered to be more project financing for its core cannabis business.) The next big news for ABK is likely to be regulatory clearance in the U.S. for its first product, the x-ray-visible beads. This product is currently being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration in a 510k application, which establishes whether a device is safe and effective. ABK hopes to gain approval later this year, “after which we are planning a controlled launch into the U.S. market,” said Abraham.  He added the company hopes for Health Canada approval in late 2019. Abraham also said the company is working on another series of beads, the Y-90 radioembolic product, which actually emits radiation. “We are quite excited about the potential of this product to be a game changer in our field,” said Abraham, adding that the regulatory requirements mean it will have a longer road to commercialization. ABK is also in the early stages of developing a degradable bead which will block blood supply to tumours then disappear from the body after a short period of time.   Disclosure: ACOA and Innovacorp are clients of Entrevestor.]]>

How Acadian Seaplants became a global leader in seaweed

See original story here When Jean-Paul Deveau returned home to Nova Scotia in 1981 on summer break from McGill University, he discovered he had no bedroom. “I’m about to go put my stuff in my room and my mother stops me and says, ‘So, before you go upstairs . . . your father started a business and he’s running it out of your bedroom,’ ” the president and CEO of Acadian Seaplants Limited remembers. “ ‘So you’re welcome to stay here but you have to find some other place to sleep.’ ” His bedroom was the incubation laboratory for Acadian Seaplants, which today is the largest independent marine plant processing company in North America, with six processing plants spread across Atlantic Canada, Ireland and Scotland. It makes seaweed-based food, agricultural and chemical products, ranging from dehydrated “sea vegetables” for salad and pasta dishes to pet food to crop fertilizer to additives for brewing. Seaweed is plentiful around the Nova Scotia coastline, where the company is still headquartered. Deveau’s father, the 86-year-old Louis E. Deveau, was perhaps destined for a career in seaweed. As a kid growing up on the shores of Baie Sainte-Marie, Louis noticed his own father put goémon de roche (the Acadian term for the seaweed harvested from the rocky shoreline) on the family’s vegetable garden. The practice yielded excellent results and spurred his realization that the plentiful plants were rich in nutrients. His fascination with the sea plant’s potential resulted in Louis joining Marine Colloids, a subsidiary of the world’s largest carrageenan gum manufacturer, in 1967. He later led seaweed-connected businesses in the Philippines and Mexico before moving to New Jersey as a vice-president of Marine Colloids’ U.S. operations. He was soon appointed president of the company’s Canadian wing, where he was also responsible for sourcing seaweed around the globe. “He also spearheaded the development of an entirely new industry—seaweed farming in the Philippines and Indonesia, which today is a major industry in those countries,” notes the Acadian Seaplants website with pride. In 1981, already a seaweed expert, he decided to become a seaweed entrepreneur. It was a risky—and prescient—move. “There was no market for most of the products we make now,” Deveau says. “The market emerged afterwards.” And, in many instances, it was created by Louis. The company that would become Acadian Seaplants was originally a small, seasonal seaweed harvesting operation, based in Nova Scotia and owned by the parent company of Louis’s long-time employer. After Louis bought its Nova Scotian assets in 1981, the firm’s former owners became its first—and for several years only—customer. It wasn’t a bad way to start a business, but Louis quickly recognized the vulnerability and unsustainability of such a business plan. Meanwhile, Deveau was finishing his M.B.A. at McGill. When he came home in 1985, he still had no bedroom. Instead, his father presented him with the kind of job every freshly minted M.B.A. dreams of: there was no pay and high risk. But it had big potential, for either success or failure. “He said, ‘Do you want to see what we can build with this thing I’m running out of your bedroom?’ ” Deveau laughs. “ ‘We don’t have enough money to pay you, but let’s see what we can build.’ And off we went, and we never looked back.” The ability of both Deveaus to take calculated risks continues to define the multinational company’s culture in its fourth decade of operations. “What I really like about Acadian is they are not afraid,” says Derrick Dempster, a partner at Deloitte who works with Acadian in the Best Managed Companies program. “They operate in a number of countries, they continue to expand strategically and they’re open to taking risks in new environments. They take on those challenges and they create new markets for themselves as a consequence.” The Deveaus agree. Louis, from Acadian’s inception, applied a “long-play” business strategy, grounded in heavy investment in scientific research and developing new markets. Deveau believes the company’s current success is driven by four deceptively simple factors. They are all about investment: in research and development, in international market development, in sustainability and in people. These commitments were seeded by Louis on day one, and have been consistently nurtured ever since by father, son and an ever-expanding pool of talent. “We find the best people in the world and either bring them to Canada to have them work for us in Nova Scotia—we speak more than 10 languages in our facility here—or we base them throughout the world to represent our company in all the countries in which we operate,” says Deveau. The company now exports to more than 80 countries and has staff in 12 locations around the globe. Acadian’s talent strategy is guided by the same kind of long-term focus Louis brought to the seaweed business: nothing is about today. It’s not even about tomorrow—it’s about the next three, five or 10 years. Acadian tries to envision the future, and then it actively creates it. “I go to a lot of conferences and we are, of course, comparing ourselves to our competitors. And when we see that what we presented three years ago, other companies are doing now, we have to ask ourselves, immediately, what do we do next? What’s the potential, the next opportunity, the new market no one else is thinking about?” says Deveau. Indeed, how the company harvests its products is under constant evaluation and improvement. Hyper-competitive long-term thinking like that will continue to contribute to Acadian’s success. “They will continue to change and create new products,” says Dempster. “They really think of themselves as a learning organization, and they’ve created infrastructure to support that. They’re a Canadian business based in Nova Scotia, but they understand that their market is global.”]]>