Meet the Global Finalists: HistoIndex

Meet HistoIndex, a Singapore-based company and co-winner of the IBM SmartCamp Asian Regional. They’ll be competing for the title IBM Entrepreneur of the Year next month in NYC, Feb. 5-7! This is part 4 of 8 in our Meet the Global Finalists series. Register for the public session on Feb. 7th here.

histoindex1. Briefly, what is your company’s solution, how does it work, and where did the idea come from?

HistoIndex provides an integrated stain-free imaging solution for clinicians, researchers and drug development companies to access fibrosis more consistently and more efficiently. The advantage of these new imaging technologies is the ability to eliminate tedious and time-consuming sample preparation and staining, and instead enable instantaneous imaging and standardized measurement.

The technology was developed in line with current histology assessment method; the biopsy sample from patient/animal is fixed and sliced, then imaged using Genesis™ directly without staining. The software part of the solution, HistoHepa™, is developed to analyse and generate more accurate quantification results to assist pathologists in making better diagnostic decisions and enable disease profiling. This capability is possible only with the help of stain-free images and a cloud-based decision database which uses past knowledge and information collected during a number of clinical trials conducted by HistoIndex.

2. Explain how the company was born; who are the key players on your team and how did they come together?

HistoIndex is a spin-off company from Singapore’s A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), specifically from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

Dr. Gideon Ho, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, was the Assistant Vice-President at
Exploit Technologies, the commercialization arm of A*STAR. He was responsible for the commercialization of A*STAR Biomedical Sciences (BMS) technologies through out-licensing and spin-offs.

Dr. Dean Tai, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), A*STAR, where he developed the two photon excitation (TPE) fluorescence and the second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy and Histo-Hepa technique with Prof. Hanry Yu.

3. How will your solution impact people’s lives for the better?

This technology will help save millions of lives by enabling early detection of fibrosis and improving the treatment regime and expediting drug development for fibrosis.

By integrating and standardizing the fibrosis assessment process, the HistoIndex solution will help pathologists track the progression and the regression of fibrosis. For the first time, pathologists will be able to compare samples from different time points and geographic locations which will improve assessment of the efficacy of various antiviral and antifibrogenic therapies. This technology will also move pathology assessment
from backend pathology labs to the frontend insurance and healthcare institutions to deliver prediction, profiling, and early diagnosis.

4. What is the best advice you’ve been given or the most important thing you’ve learned in the SmartCamp competition so far?

Stay focused on the real issue and the potential customer. Have deep understanding of the need in the market. Align the technical capability and the addressable market well so that the value of how the solution will change people’s lives can be demonstrated and validated.
Define your market well and position your solutions in the market in a way that offers a
significantly different benefit/advantage to the clients, and continue to innovate and stay ahead.

5. In what ways do you hope working with IBM will help your company grow and succeed?

By leveraging IBM’s data analytics capability and strong sales and marketing
force, we hope to integrate the HistoIndex solution into IBM’s existing healthcare industry framework.

By working with IBM we expect to make our solution more comprehensive and
compatible with the current IT workflow in healthcare institutions, and expedite the process so that our products reach a larger audience with better and more reliable technical infrastructure support.

Healthcare_Icon_6206. What is the main reason your company should be named IBM SmartCamp’s Entrepreneur of the Year?

The HistoIndex solution is a patented, innovative, game-changing solution and is perfectly aligned with IBM’s smarter healthcare and smarter planet strategy. Our solution demonstrates the capability of using cutting-edge technology to empower healthcare
providers and improve clinical and treatment outcome for patients.

We aim to discover the hidden patterns in information that were not previously available to doctors.  The HistoIndex solution is a perfect example of using
analytics and collaboration to improve healthcare quality and outcomes. We look to improve the quality and efficiency of care, cultivating patient centricity through engagement and personalization of healthcare, reducing disparities in access to healthcare and increase value by turning individuals into advocates for their own health, thus achieving smarter healthcare for a smarter planet.

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