The impact of innovation is felt across the globe, with dedicated entrepreneurs solving problems and building businesses that propel our economy forward and bring new opportunities to life. For forward-thinkers and problem-solvers working in medical technology innovation, the impact is broad and bountiful, but can be narrowed down to each individual person whose experience is at the helm of medical innovation. At Tenomix, a London-based medical technology startup at the forefront of pathology innovation, the individual stories of loved ones prompted the four co-founders to strive for success, and as their technology advances into its usability testing phase this year, they are only just getting started. 

Tenomix was founded by Saumik Biswas (PhD), Eveline Pasman (MD, PhD), Michael Lavdas (BESc, MESc), and Sherif Abdou (PhD, PEng), who initially met attending Western University’s Medical Innovation Fellowship. Tasked to interview clinicians and find their pain points within the healthcare system, they found that pathologists using manual search techniques to find lymph nodes in surgically removed colon cancer tissues were experiencing trouble finding small lymph nodes (which can be accidentally missed and further impact the cancer staging report). They were also committing extensive time, lab resources, and manual labour for the current search process.

This finding led to further research with pathologists across the globe, and eventually sparked the co-founders to create Tenomix with a mission to develop new medical innovation technology that would reduce healthcare costs, improve inefficiencies in the clinical workflow, and improve cancer care outcomes. Tenomix has created a technology that aids in the lymph node search process, developing the first ever automated benchtop device that uses ultrasound, robotics, and AI to automate a traditionally labour intensive, costly, and less-reliable system. 

Tenomix is a recent i.d.e.a Fund recipient. Supported by a $10-million Government of Canada investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the i.d.e.a. Fund is led by Innovation Guelph in partnership with five Regional Innovation Centres (RICs): WEtech Alliance, Haltech, Innovate Niagara, Innovation Factory and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario. The program helps high-potential ventures access the tools they need to succeed by providing financial and business advisory supports to develop or redesign products, services, processes, and technologies that reduce impacts on the environment and create made-in-Canada solutions. 

“Canadian medical innovators are at the forefront of exciting new solutions to our everyday health problems. Thanks to the i.d.e.a. Fund, entrepreneurs are able to develop new technologies and build a healthier future for Canadians,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “Our Government, through this support, is creating good jobs and fostering innovation, both of which lead to a healthy and prosperous future for Canadians.”  “We have received so much support from the London community, and the i.d.e.a Fund is yet another opportunity that brings us closer to reaching our goals,” said Biswas. “We are forever grateful for the support of TechAlliance, the London community, hospital partners and academic collaborators that have all contributed to this medical technology that can and will save lives.” With the funding, Tenomix has been able to continue the research and development of their prototype, rapidly working towards a beta unit that can be tested on human tissues. 

In addition to investment readiness preparations, the fund connected Tenomix to TechAlliance’s Manager of Startup Advisory and Venture Growth, Andrew Leest, to stay on top of industry touchpoints and use this project as a launchpad for continued venture growth. “Tenomix was dedicated to building a concrete financial model that will be used to help develop its business and go-to-market strategy as the project becomes finalized and implemented throughout pathology labs,” said Leest. “You can tell that there is a passionate drive behind the founders’ vision, and it is invigorating to see the entrepreneurial spirit coursing through the Tenomix team.” As Tenomix begins AI algorithm integration into its existing hardware, the Co-Founders anticipate early usability testing to start mid-next year with local hospital partners and the unwavering support of their community behind them. 

I watched how medical technology innovation changed the course of people’s lives. It changed my brother’s life for the better, and the lack of it impacted my aunt’s cancer treatment negatively before she passed. It helped me understand just how impactful and important this type of work is, and made me realize that I wanted to dedicate my life to making a positive impact on others.

Saumik Biswas, CEO, President and Founder at Tenomix Inc.

In the process of hiring new employees and building connections with investors, pathology labs, and hospitals, Tenomix is anticipating a successful year. The company’s novel and impactful solution has gained local recognition, presenting Tenomix as finalists for the Limitless 2023 Breakthrough Award, showcasing its innovation’s significant realized potential. With endless applications of its technology for different pathology use cases, the avenue for further exploration and expansion of Tenomix’s dedicated team and tech will continue to advance medical technology innovation in pathology through the work of passionate, proactive entrepreneurs. 

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