Category: News

14 Nov 2016

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR MEDICAL IMAGE TECHNOLOGY

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4Dx was featured in an article in Australias national daily newspaper, The Australian today. Andreas Fouras, Founder and CEO of 4Dx is interviewed and the article discusses the new software for imaging lung function devised by 4Dx.

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR MEDICAL IMAGE TECHNOLOGY

A “dream job” studying airflow through jet engines has led to an innovative lung imaging system that Professor Andreas Fouras is convinced will disrupt a $25 billion a year global industry and dramatically change healthcare outcomes.

The Australian father of five, who has relocated his family to Los Angeles to progress his venture, says he has found his opportunity to make a difference. With his team at 4DX, he has devised a new way of imaging the lungs by showing in real-time motion how air flows through them, pinpointing the areas that aren’t working well and those that are.

Professor Fouras says given the best technology for imaging the lungs is 50 years old, his innovation, which relies on computer software and four-dimensional imaging technology, is the next generation of care.

“We take X-rays of your lungs and look at how all individual parts are moving in very subtle detail with very sophisticated mathematics, which allows us to see accurately in fine detail how the air is moving through every part of the lung,” the 42-year-old says. “It gives clear insight into the trouble areas.”

A patient gets an X-ray — the X-ray machine would be used slightly different to how it is used now — and it is sent to the 4DX analysis cloud, which picks up every deficit in lung function. A detailed report is then sent back to the doctor.

Fouras initially took his mortgage to the maximum to start his company, 4DX, and later sold his house to pour every last penny he had into his new dream job.

“We are definitely on to something. 4DX is going to change healthcare globally — I’m convinced of that,” he says. Fouras says he had worked his way up the ranks at Monash University to build what he thought at that time was his dream career as a researcher, working on “fantastic” technology.

“While I was excited intellectually by the research, I wasn’t excited by the outcomes of, say, reducing drag on an aircraft by 1 per cent,” he says. “I realised that the mathematical discoveries I’d made could be useful in helping make better-informed decisions in healthcare and impact on people’s life.

So I pivoted my career down that path, and while it’s fairly common overseas, I think I’m a little bit of a trailblazer in Australia in terms of an engineer working completely in healthcare research.

“Initially it was bittersweet leaving a dream career behind but as a researcher, inventor and now a CEO, there is that common thread of ‘I’m just looking to make the world a better place through good ideas’.”

Lung diagnostics mostly relies on historic procedures. The most commonly used procedure is the pulmonary function test, which was designed in the 1860s. Then there are chest X-rays, which were developed in the 1890s, and the CT from the 1970s. “They are the mainstay of lung diagnostics and the best-case scenario is you are relying on technology that is almost 50 years old,” Fouras says.

There are 72 million lung diagnostic procedures performed in the US each year and about five million to 10 million scans per year in Australia. “All of those people are getting sub-quality information,” Fouras says. “Diseases are getting picked up later than they should, bad treatments aren’t being stopped right away and millions of people are having horrible health outcomes, or worse, dying, as a result of that.”

4DX is in the process of getting regulatory approvals and expects US support early next year. Scans using the technology are already being done in clinical trials in several hospitals in the US and Australia.

Fouras says while 4DX would remain an Australian company, he has moved its corporate headquarters to the US, given that is where the key market is. The professor says the movement in Australia to support innovation appears to be in the right direction but he says there are some zeros missing from the scale at which that movement is being proposed.

“Over the last 10 years, if you aggregate it, there have been significant cuts to the innovation budget. Any small increases proposed by the current government don’t get us back to where we were five to 10 years ago.”

His company has raised $5m and Fouras expects to reach $7m by year-end. “We have done well out of the Australian market but it took about 10 times more effort and three times longer than what it would’ve taken overseas.”

21 Sep 2016

Appointment of General Manager – Notting Hill Devices

4Dx is excited to announce that Paul Cooke will be taking on the role of General Manager of 4Dx’s specialist hardware subsidiary, Notting Hill Devices. As Paul moves into this role, he will be stepping aside from his role as Non-Executive Director, effective 1st September. During his tenure as Non-Executive Director, Paul played a key role in lifting 4Dx’s profile during our recent capital raising endeavours.

 

12 Sep 2016

Monash license agreement changes

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A number of positive changes have been made to the key licence agreement with Monash University (which grants 4Dx rights to commercialise this technology in exchange for royalty payments).

Most notable among these changes is that the funding threshold for assignment of patents has been lowered to A$6.5 million from A$10 million. Once this lower threshold has been met, all of these patents will be permanently and irrevocably handed over to 4Dx – the royalty, however, will remain.

Other changes reduce restrictions for 4Dx to sub-license the technology to other companies.

 

02 Sep 2016

Andreas Fouras, CEO of 4Dx, says backing bright people is a bright idea

Andreas Fouras, Founder and CEO of 4Dx, spoke with Nature Index on the recent call from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for public consultation on the structural review of their grant program.

m1Following criticism that current funding models are failing to support researchers across all stages of their careers, the NHMRC have opened the debate around three proposed alternative models to review research grant submissions: two based largely on funding people, as individuals or teams; and one that supports ideas.

Andreas joins the camp to support funding people, stating that the disadvantage of funding projects or ideas is that review panels struggle to evaluate projects that draw on multidisciplinary expertise, “there are no panels for research identified as belonging to ‘other’ fields, ” he says.

To read the full article click here.

 

 

01 Sep 2016

4Dx retail round closes with full subscription

Scan-room-with-4dx-reportWe are pleased to announce that our recent retail offer of shares is now fully subscribed after successfully raising AU$500,000.

It is very encouraging to gain backing so enthusiastically from retail investors committed to seeing our technology come to market as fast as possible.

These funds take us a step closer to commercialising our technology through ongoing clinical validation and expansion of our US operation, where Founder and CEO, Andreas Fouras, is now based.

We would like to thank all of our investors for their ongoing support and will continue to update you with news as we reach significant milestones.

To find out about future opportunities, please register your interest here.

25 Aug 2016

AuntMinnie.com interview 4Dx on their advanced visualization tool being used for imaging lung disease

4Dx was interviewed by AuntMinnie.com, an influential community site for radiologists and related professionals in the medical imaging industry.

In the article “Advanced visualization tool assesses lung disease”, Eric Barnes interviewed the 4Dx team on the new technique they have developed that combines fluoroscopy and advanced visualization to generate high-resolution images of the motion and airflow of lung tissue.

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“The patients breathe under fluoro and we can record the motion of the tissues, and from that we can quantify a number of things, like ventilation,” said Andreas Fouras, CEO and Founder of 4Dx.

4Dx uses software to segment and track the bronchial tree and estimate airflow inside that part of the body. The team explained that, assuming air inside the lung and lung tissue is incompressible, the calculated lung expansion directly represents airflow into and out of the lung regions.

Asked how the technology will be used, Andreas explained that they foresee a number of clinical applications.

“Depending on the nature of the disease, it may be easier to see the disease through an image of the ventilation, or it may be easier to see it on the airways themselves where you can see the airflow going through,” he explained. “It primarily depends on whether the disease is restrictive [affecting the tissues] or obstructive [affecting the airways].”

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4Dx has tested the technology in animal studies and has started performing human trials with leading Australian and US hospitals.

Andreas believes the images to be very powerful for diagnosis of common lung disease, and, more importantly, for the monitoring and follow-up of a patient as a disease progresses, or as a patient undergoes treatment.

To view the original article “Advanced visualization tool assesses lung disease”, by Eric Barnes is available to members at AuntMinnie.com.

24 Aug 2016

4Dx’s CEO talks to the Australian Financial Review about how our culture is stifling innovation

Light BulbThe AFR cover insights from last weeks meeting of 400 of the top people in the innovation sector, where Andreas Fouras, CEO of 4Dx, highlighted one of the biggest problems Australia faces as it seeks to become high tech nation.

Contrary to the risk taking the government would lead us to believe is encouraged as a nation, when researchers leave academia and attempt to commercialise their research, if it doesn’t work out, they are rarely taken back.

Taking a leap of faith to quit a career to go and build a startup is daunting enough, but as noted by Andreas, as an academic, you want to be sure.

Andreas is so convinced of the merit of his research he sold his house, quit his job and relocated his entire family to the US.
Click here to read the full article.

18 Aug 2016

4Dx’s Andreas Fouras speaks alongside Australia’s leading academics and experts at the AFR Innovation Summit 2016

Andreas Fouras, CEO of 4Dx, yesterday joined some of  Australias leading scientists and academics at The Australian Financial Reviews  Innovation Summit to discuss Australia’s need to change its attitude toward entrepreneurial failure to protect the economy from missing out on the benefits created by risk takers.

Dr Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, who was also speaking, highlighted that Australia’s start-up ecosystem will find success with the right attitude, investments and policies. This, he says, could maximise Australia’s potential to punch well above its weight.Andreas Presenting

Andreas added during his round table ‘Deconstructing successful commercialization: Lessons from the coalface’ that a key success factor for innovation was that it is important to have more mobility between universities and business and with other research organisations such as the CSIRO.

The article was published in today’s AFR on Page 2 or click here to read the full article online.