Pathology diagnosis SigTuple can save lives of many - Medicircle

Imagine losing your loved one due to an avoidable medical error? An error that could with technology be avoided at all costs is causing someone’s precious life. Know more about his solution to solve this error with SigTuple.

We have over 2.7 million cancer cases in our country. Each year we add 1.3 million new cases and we lose 8.5 lakh patients. Over 70% of these cases get detected at a very late and advanced stage. Imagine losing your loved one due to an avoidable medical error? An error that could with technology be avoided at all costs is causing someone’s precious life. This harsh reality was faced by Dr Tathagato Rai Dastidar who lost his father because of a misdiagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia. Tathagato completed his Engineering at IIT Kharagpur and later did his PhD. In 2015, he started SigTuple

About SigTuple

Dr Dastidar begins, “At SigTuple we are trying to address the issue of not losing someone due to misdiagnosis. We try to provide early diagnosis of critical disorders. We are trying to do this by automating some of the manual and error-prone processes of the diagnostic flow. If we look inside a clinical laboratory then most of the processes and tests are automated. But there is one process that is manual not only in India but all over the world.”

“That is the microscopic review of the samples. Unfortunately, microscopy is the gold standard for detecting the most critical diseases. These include cancers, different types of infections, anaemia and so on. Being manual in nature, the process is dependent on the reviewer’s skill, fatigue level and more. Moreover, the process is highly inefficient as the pathologist, sample and microscope need all to be in one place at one time.”

“What we are trying to do is automate this process with a hardware and software solution. The hardware is an automated digital microscope, which turns the physical sample into microscopic digital images. Then there is an AI that analyses these images for different types of cells and structures. It then highlights all abnormalities to the pathologists. The pathologist can access these clinical insights on a web browser anywhere in the world. 90% of the pathologist’s job is already done by the AI.”

“This makes the whole process more accessible, as the pathologist can now use his/her time elsewhere and also be present anywhere. This process also makes the pathologist more efficient. The AI brings down the review time drastically. Ultimately it helps the patient the most, as this helps pick up the rarer abnormalities which if went undetected could bloom into sometime bigger. There are two specific areas in which we work - Blood Microscopy and Urine Microscopy. These two constitute 70% of the workload in any lab.”

SigTuple’s USP

Dr Dastidar explains, “Predible is solving the same problem but in a different way. If you look at Predible, Qure.AI or Synapsica, these companies are in the radiology domain. They look at CTs, X-rays and MRIs to detect disorders. Whereas we are in the pathology domain. Both the domains are forms of diagnosis but are not the same. Radiology has its use in cancer diagnostics and so does pathology. We complement each other.”

Lives Saved by SigTuple

Dr Dastidar says, “We have many installations in India in which hundreds of patients get their blood checked everyday. I would like to speak on one specific installation which is present in an Adivasi village in Tamil Nadu. That place had a small rural hospital for the last 30 years. But they never had a pathologist or diagnostic facilities. We placed our device there and have started treating the local tribal population. Things like anaemia and malnutrition-related disorder are eminent in the tribal population.”

“With our solution, the doctor sitting in Bangalore can diagnose the patients in Tamil Nadu. I’m very proud to say that we were able to save the lives of a few babies using this. As the doctors in Bangalore were able to see the problem using our technology.”

SigTuple’s Funding 

SigTuple has gained funds from Accel Partners, Chiratae Ventures, IDG Capital and Trifecta Capital Advisor. Dr Dastidar adds, “We have raised around $35 million in equity and $3-4 million in debt. The primary usage of the funds have been in R&D, getting regulatory clearances and now we are using them for business development.” 

SigTuple’s Revenues 

Dr Dastidar mentions, “We started full-scale commercialisation only 6 months back. This year we are looking forward to 2 and a half million in revenue and will grow by leaps and bounds after that.”

SigTuple’s Scale-up and Expansion plans

Dr Dastidar lends, “In India, we have our instalments not only in Bangalore but all over the country. The problem we are trying to solve is global and blood disorders are the same globally. Therefore, we believe that our solution is applicable worldwide. We already have the regulatory clearance for many markets like the European Union, much of Asia and Africa. We are in the middle of filing for the USA’s FDA, which will provide us access to all of North America. We are actively trying to expand to other countries and hopefully, there will be good news on that front soon.”

SigTuple’s Goals

Dr Dastidar expresses, “We want to grow internationally. We want to get our USA’s FDA clearance and would want to innovate more and keep adding capabilities to our solution. These are our immediate goals.”

Message for Future Entrepreneurs 

Dr Dastidar advises, “I would like to give a couple of advice. The first is to implement regulatory processes within your organisation from day one, especially if you are doing something in the medical field. Secondly, India hasn’t seen many deep-tech startups in the medical field. We were the first ones and others have followed. But the numbers are still less. So let’s go and break that. Let us be competitive with the world when it comes to churning competitive deep-tech startups. Israel, a small country, has more deep-tech startups than India has. Let’s break that, let’s do that.”

Edited By: Priyal Shah

Contributed By: Dr Tathagato Rai Dastidar, Founder & CEO, SigTuple

Tags : #Top-Innovative-Healthcare-Startup-Series #SigTuple #DrTathagatoRaiDastidar #diagnostics #Pathologydiagnosis #early-diagnosis #smitakumar #medicircle

About the Author

Priyal Shah

Priyal Shah is a graduate of Media from Mithibai College, Mumbai. She is a writer, researcher and avid reader.

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