Thursday, 13 April 2017
A revolutionary app that helps doctors diagnose, manage and treat skin cancer, and whose Singapore creators are linked with the University of Adelaide, will soon be creating new economic opportunities in South Australia.
Singapore company Firma Skin will drive the global rollout of its artificial intelligence-based Derma Analytics app from South Australia. Up to 25 new jobs will be created in Adelaide, including positions for computer programmers to develop further biomedical uses of the underlying pattern-matching technology.
Dr Steven Fang, Founder of Firma Skin, is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide; his daughter, Nicole Fang, is Business Development Manager of Firma Skin and a graduate of the University of Adelaide, with a Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The company is among the first to apply for official tenancy in the University of Adelaide's new ThincLab premises, which will open mid this year at the University on the corner of Pulteney St and North Tce.
ThincLab is Adelaide's newest home for entrepreneurs and innovators. Part of the University's Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC), ThincLab will incubate new ventures, support entrepreneurs and enable industry-academic engagement.
Health Industries South Australia – the South Australian Government agency assisting health and life sciences companies invest in the state – is working with Firma Skin to help it establish and grow in Adelaide.
"With the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, it makes sense for Firma Skin to be based in Australia," says Dr Fang.
"We’ve chosen to invest in South Australia because it’s a great place to do business and the talent pool we’ve found in Adelaide is world-class.
"We look forward to developing other innovative life-saving technology right here in Adelaide with the support of Health Industries South Australia. This includes working on big data analysis and healthcare surveillance know-how."
Professor Noel Lindsay, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide, says: "It's fabulous to see Steven and Nicole Fang bring their overseas investment into South Australia in the hi-tech sector.
"This is the kind of venture we are happy to champion."
Firma Skin's technology enables users to take photos of their skin with the smartphone app Derma Analytics. The app analyses these images with proprietary pattern-matching technology to detect skin cancer, with the results being sent to the patient’s doctor. This makes it easier and faster to identify skin cancer early and for patients and their doctors to manage treatment.
General Practitioners have a 76% to 86% success rate in diagnosing melanoma; Singapore’s National Skin Centre concluded that Derma Analytics has 95% accuracy.
Firma Skin has established partnerships with local doctors, including Marden GP Dr Andrew Kellie, who will be one of the first in Australia to use this ground-breaking technology.
"Using Derma Analytics on their smartphone, patients will be able to confidently track skin changes with great accuracy and access medical help when it’s needed," says Dr Kellie, from East Adelaide Healthcare.
"The Derma Analytics platform lets doctors monitor patients’ skin lesions remotely, reassuring patients or prompting them to seek treatment when required.
"We’re thrilled Firma Skin chose East Adelaide Healthcare to be world-first users of Derma Analytics technology, allowing us to help set a new standard in early detection and intervention of potentially life-threatening skin cancers, especially melanomas."
South Australia's Minister for Health Industries, Jack Snelling, says: "Firma Skin’s decision to headquarter in South Australia is a great job-creating win for this important hi-tech sector.
"South Australians will be some of the first people in the world to have access to this breakthrough technology.
"Improving early detection will allow specialists to be engaged sooner, helping increase skin cancer survival rates for South Australians."
This business initiative is supported by Health Industries South Australia, which is working to deliver hi-tech, high value jobs to help transform the state's economy.
"The development of Derma Analytics and the jobs it’s creating are a welcome addition to Adelaide’s life sciences sector," says Marco Baccanti, Chief Executive of Health Industries South Australia.
ThincLab is currently seeking expressions of interest from ventures wishing to be based at ThincLab Adelaide. For more information, visit: www.adelaide.edu.au/thinclab