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Optiscan Imaging on mission to revolutionise medical imaging

Optiscan managing director Dr Camile Farah with the company’s patented and cutting-edge inVivage confocal microscope. Credit: File

ASX-listed Optiscan Imaging is ramping up its bid to pioneer a new standard of care in digital pathology and precision surgery, with its biopsy-free, slide-free, non-invasive, live single-cell medical imaging technology.

The company’s patented imaging technology houses miniaturised componentry to create a pen-sized digital microscope that offers the power of real-time 3D single-cell imaging – all in the palm of your hand.

The medical imaging specialist is nudging closer to obtaining highly-coveted marketing approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of its “InVivage” imaging device for oral cancer screening – an endorsement that will have it hurtling closer to breaking into that nation’s lucrative market.

To fast-track the development and commercialisation of its revolutionary medical imagery devices, Optiscan has launched an entitlement offer aiming to raise $16.7 million. The funds will also be used to improve its artificial intelligence (AI) and telepathology capabilities and to undertake additional clinical studies to satisfy the FDA.

In a solid show of support, two of Optiscan’s cornerstone investors have fully-subscribed to their entitlements under the pro-rata offer of one fully-paid ordinary share for every three shares held and have elected to collectively underwrite an additional $9.8 million slice of the offer.

Despite rapid advances in the tech space, many medical diagnostic procedures remain complex, invasive and time-consuming, often requiring collaboration between multiple clinicians within a larger healthcare network system.

The Optiscan probes are fibre optic fluorescence confocal microscopes that are built for instant digital solutions in the medical and life-science imaging sectors. Images are generated by simply touching the probe against the tissue of interest.

InVivage has the ability to distinguish between normal, precancerous and cancerous tissue. Early imaging studies conducted at the Australian Centre for Oral Oncology Research and Education correctly diagnosed 100 per cent of cancer cases using Optiscan’s probe with on-the-fly clinical assessment of its images in real-time.

Further studies are being conducted into the use of the device for detecting breast cancer, with a 42-patient trial at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Astoundingly, one-third of all breast cancer patients who have lumpectomies return for second-stage surgeries and wider resections. Optiscan is confident its InVivage microscope can diagnose cancerous cells in real-time, enabling surgeons to clear the tumour in the first resection, drastically improving patient outcomes.

With the appointment of physician and pathologist Dr Camile Farah to the dual role of managing director and chief executive officer in 2021, the company made the strategic gear shift from its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) model to developing its own products.

The company is at an inflection point in its history as it accelerates its transformation from an R&D enterprise and OEM supplier to a pure-play medical device manufacture and digital solution provider. Optiscan Imaging managing director and chief executive officer Dr Camile Farah

The company is also in the throes of developing digital pathology platforms to enable real-time collaboration between surgeons and pathologists. Management recently inked an exclusive collaboration with Canadian software developer Prolucid Technologies to develop AI algorithms using its medical images to enable immediate clinical decision-making.

Expected to take between 18 and 24 months, the cutting-edge innovative project will help clinicians provide the best possible patient outcomes through the earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

As an early adopter of Optiscan’s technology, Professor Mark Preul – neurosurgeon and chair of neurosurgery research at the Barrow Neurosurgical Institute in Arizona – described the company’s microscope as, “nearly a holy grail in terms of identifying malignant cells”.

Outside of developing its own technology, Optiscan has also partnered with leading German technology group Zeiss. The company’s confocal imaging technology has been custom-fitted into Zeiss’ Convivo endomicroscopy system used in neurosurgery, providing a crucial income stream.

With FDA approval all but secured, a strong supporter base, shelf-ready cutting-edge technology and a soon-to-be billowing bank account, Optiscan looks poised to break into the global medical imaging market.

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