Monday, January 24, 2005
Biosignetics Targets $2M Series A To Bring Analysis Tools To Market
Exeter, N.H. -- Biosignetics Corp., a firm that is developing digital software to analyze heart signals, hopes to improve upon the stethoscope by helping doctors detect heart disease earlier.
Self-funded since its inception last January, the firm is now seeking $2 million in its first round of venture capital as it prepares to launch products in the early second quarter, Senior Vice President of Technology and Marketing Vladimir Kudriavtsev told VentureWire.
Biosignetics develops signal processing algorithms and software in order to detect heart imperfections earlier on in the medical examination process. The company's flagship Heart Energy Signature platform is designed to show changes in heartbeat energy simultaneously in time and in frequency, in order to enable physicians to record and track sound-based heart diagnosis data.
Dr. Vladimir Polyshchuk, company co-founder had originally developed scientific foundations for the digital stethoscope while working on various machine health monitoring research projects. About a year ago, company founders had decided it was time to bring the technology to market because many more people have computers now - and so the potential market is larger - and also because computers are more powerful and analysis is therefore faster, he said.
While Biosignetics is targeting an initial $2 million, Polyshchuk said, "We're looking for investors who are willing to stay for the longer term – it will take more than one round to bring it to market." No investors have yet committed, but Polyshchuk hopes to close the round as soon as possible for marketing to "catch a larger portion of the market."
He estimates the upcoming round will fund operations for 18 months.
"We realized there's no effective way to keep record of what is done when a doctor listens to a stethoscope specifically for heart conditions,"
The Biosignetics software works with an "off-the-shelf stethoscope" and creates what the company calls a Digital Stethoscope which records stethoscope sounds which can be preserved and accessed upon subsequent examinations.
The company targets family doctors and will ultimately push to cardiologists as well. Kudriavtsev said the company has already started marketing educational and research versions of the software to programs in medical schools to teach students how to listen with a stethoscope and detect heart disease.
Kudriavtsev said the company has catalogued sounds of 20 conditions and likened the technology to speech recognition: "You look at the sound of the heart and you recognize certain features on that sound as characteristic of that disease."
Physicians can also filter sounds to see if they belong to a certain range of frequencies of pitch as well as to characterize them or do noise reduction.
Early detection often involves weak signals. "Imagine you are in a dark room and you are looking for a black hat," Kudriavtsev said. "We have developed a methodology to detect the black hat."
Other applications for Biosignetics technology include brain symbioprinting for the analysis of P300 brain waves, or those resulting from responses that cannot be controlled by an individual. In this application - which Kudriavtsev described as a "lie detector of the 21st century" that has been used in criminal investigations - researchers could gauge responses to images or feelings in order deduce responses and attitudes.
"With Valentine's Day coming soon, you can actually look at the breakup situation and record brain responses...or give a person a good food and take it back and see how they respond," Kudriavtsev said.
In terms of medical applications, Kudriavtsev said the technology could potentially be applied to detect epileptic seizures. However, he said Biosignetics will likely license out technology for additional applications in order to focus on the heart.
The Exeter, N.H.-based company has three employees and will hire up to an additional five in research and marketing.
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