QMENTA: a 5-year journey on healthcare IT
Or how we can actually make a difference in the health industry. Read on how we started, what we achieved & where we want to go.
2013–2018: A journey through the future of medicine.
Five years ago, it was just a few people pulled together to work towards one vision. How can we empower neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and neurologists to use quantitative tools in their everyday workflow in order to have detailed, accurate, and objective information about their patients and improve their diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis?
It’s shocking that 1/3 of the population today suffers from brain diseases, yet there is no cure for most of them — only treatments to eliminate symptoms such as tremor in patients with Parkinson’s disease or to slow down disease progression like in the case of MS.
The drug development process for CNS is flawed and many Pharmaceutical corporations publicly admit this. The main challenges come in the type of data that is gathered to evaluate drug efficacy. In most cases is gathering information by conducting quizzes and simplistic tests to evaluate the patient’s state and efficacy of the treatment. Imaging information is rarely used and in most cases for visual inspection and inclusion/exclusion criterias.
In QMENTA we share the same vision, a vision of a world where brain diseases are early diagnosed, cured, and even prevented; a world where brain diseases are a thing of the past.
Five years ago, big data and cloud computing started emerging and the MRI machines started producing high amount and high quality data while the costs for scanning just started dropping. It was the right time to bridge our knowledge in medical image processing and the technological novelties in the IT industry. However, having worked with neurologists and radiologists, we also knew that complex image processing algorithms required technical knowledge and high learning curve and that was a huge obstacle in using these novel quantitative techniques in their everyday practice. Therefore, unless they are delivered with a simple solution (as simple as one click to launch analysis), this gap between state-of-the-art research in medical image processing, AI and clinical practice would remain unbridged for years to come.
Five years ago, data sharing was not very common. Hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, CROs, and imaging centers were extremely resistant to even consider using cloud architecture. However, we knew that this was the right way to proceed with our product development no matter the challenges and we knew that we need to build this new market given the needs for collaboration, reproducibility and scalability for this industry.
Today QMENTA is fully compliant cloud solution that runs the imaging data on its platform. Whether the customer is a neurologist, a radiologist, a CRO, a pharmaceutical company, the end-consumer of the platform does not need to have previous knowledge about computational science background in order to use it. It works as easily as a drag and drop of files, a selection of various criterions for data analysis, and a click to download automated reports directly from the platform.
April 2013 — the birth of “Mint labs”
QMENTA was founded in 2013, back then known as Mint Labs, with a single purpose: create significant impact on the lives of millions of people with neurodegenerative diseases.
We started recruiting and gathering talented engineers and developers around the idea of a platform. A web platform enabling experts to tap the potential of what technology can do to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis.
Today, there are 25 people that are fully dedicating their skills and talents to develop the best platform possible for neuroscience experts. The company is following the highest standards of security, privacy, and software development and is compliant with a number of regulations such as HIPAA (since 2016), ISO 13485, 21 CFR Part 11 & 820, IEC 62304, Annex 11, GDPR, and more. Thus, the company has expanded its mindset — now building strong partnerships with other companies sharing the same vision, supporting the pharmaceutical industry through their efforts in clinical trials.
Customer-oriented = science-oriented
We share one clear vision for the medical field: supporting scientific progress one day after the other. With time, the product built by the company has evolved to become something unique in the medical industry. For us, being customer-oriented today means that we support scientific progress and contribute to its constant development.
2017 was a year of many milestones for us
The first milestone was met when the company closed an important $3.2M seed round in early 2017. Having built a growing and loyal customer base, gained an exponential traction, the company was able to convince investors to trust their skills and technological knowledge.
Working with renowned institutions in healthcare and building innovative projects with them — such as the project developed by UC San Francisco (UCSF)called MultipleMS, QMENTA has proven the reliability and quality of its tools. Moreover, other great partnerships were made such as one with Quantib with whom QMENTA won a Eurostars grant to develop a decision support system for stroke.
In October 2017, Mint Labs officially became QMENTA, a new name, a new design, a new visual identity. We re-branded ourselves to better showcase our mission and dedication on quality and quantification, and especially our focus on the brain.
At the end of the year, QMENTA was rewarded on several occasions and the team was extremely grateful to see that their hard work and efforts did not go unnoticed. AuntMinnie.com named them “Best New Radiology Vendor” and during Accenture’s Healthtech Innovation Challenge they became one of Europe regional winners. More recently, they were chosen by Sanofi to attend Viva Technology 2018 in Paris and won one of the challenges organized by Sanofi.
In 2018, a new advisor was added to QMENTA’s scientific board: Bruce Rosen, MD, PhD. The award-winning neuroimaging expert joined four other advisors also bringing expertise and market knowledge to the QMENTA team:
– Walter Gilbert, PhD, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
– Chris Llewellyn, MD, surgeon and healthcare industry expert
– Michael Fox, MD, PhD, expert in neurology & movement disorders
– Pablo Villoslada, MD, PhD, expert in neurology & Multiple Sclerosis
2018 was also the year when the new front-end of the platform was released. Thanks to months of efforts from the developer team, customers have been able to run their analysis and manage their data in only a few clicks. The improved design and simplified front-end created an unbelievably user-friendly platform. As its front end functionalities advance, we introduced its PACS Integration which will allow doctors to directly upload their patient data from the hospital to the platform, thus saving valuable time and effort.
Moreover, we built a Software Development Kit (SDK) to extend the capabilities of the platform via partnerships with experts in the field. Now, the platform can incorporate the advanced algorithms of 3rd parties to maximize the reach of these new technologies and thus their impact on the society. As experts both in new technologies and neurosciences, we have the means to tackle significant challenges and obstacles. Our channels enable us to share this knowledge to the community for instance with our Medium tech blog.
Acting for the future of medicine
We have already achieved great things but the company sees this as the beginning of our story. The team wants to continue working hand in hand with everyone that is trying to make a difference in drug discovery for neurological diseases.
“It has been an exciting journey to deliver our product and help our customers in the best way that we can while we continue to improve the QMENTA platform every single day.
We do have big plans for the future and hope that you — whether you are part of clinical trials, neuro experts or simply curious healthtech geeks — will be part of them!
To everyone that has been following our journey, we would like to take a moment to say thank you.
To many more years of collaboration.”