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Innovation in the healthcare niche means innovation in the complete lifecycle of medical devices from conceptualization to the end of life of that device. This created an opportunity for the medical industry to leapfrog and make fundamental changes.

As a sign of change, organizations have worked with the common goal of achieving the best outcome for the patient, and overall value for the healthcare system has been out of focus. One such organization, Acarix is touching millions of hearts with its groundbreaking AI technology which helps detect heart sound abnormalities, such as coronary murmurs and many more in less than ten minutes.

As President and CEO at Acarix, Ms Helen Ljungdahl Round has rapidly clarified the strategy, refocused the company efforts on the commercialization in the US, strengthened the Global Management Team to drive the global performance, and hired a top talent women US leadership team to drive the growth in the US.

Below are the highlights of Ms Helen’s interview with Insights Care:

Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a reliable firm in the healthcare sector.

Acarix is a Swedish medical device company that innovates solutions for rapid AI-based rule out of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). The CE approved and FDA DeNovo cleared Acarix CADScor®System is intended for patients experiencing chest pain with suspected CAD and is designed to help reduce millions of unnecessary, invasive, and costly diagnostic procedures.

The CADScor®System calculates a patient-specific CAD score non-invasively in less than ten minutes and can help rule out more than one-third of patients with at least 96% certainty of not being sick (in a population with approx. ten per cent CAD prevalence). Acarix is listed on the Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market (ticker: ACARIX).

Shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients?

Our mission is to touch millions of hearts with CADScor®System, our groundbreaking AI-based technology for the acoustic assessment of coronary artery disease (CAD), and aid to rule out those that have low risk.

Our vision is that everyone that needs a CADScor®System assessment should have access. By doing so, we can reduce the diagnostic burden on individuals, provide peace of mind, as well as help drive efficiency across the overall cardiac health care systems. There are one million people with chest pain seeking medical attention each day. The difficulty is to determine whether this is related to the heart or not, and many go through multiple diagnostic tests, some also invasive.

The troubling fact is that nine out of ten assessed do not have CAD. In just ten minutes, the CADScor®System can instead rule out CAD in those presenting with stable chest pain and suspected CAD with at least 96% certainty.

Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies and platforms has impacted the diagnostics space and how is your company riding the technology wave?

Modern technology and innovation will continue to improve healthcare and patient outcomes. I am excited about leading a company that utilizes acoustic engineering and AI to rapidly assess patients with chest pain and help determine if they have CAD. Acarix is at the forefront of this wave – we have the technology to support clinicians in their diagnosis of patients, and healthcare systems in driving efficiencies and cost reductions. Still, most importantly, we provide rapid answers and hopefully peace of mind for the millions of people with chest pain and suspected CAD.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the healthcare space?

Lean in and focus. Focus on unmet needs, developing innovative technologies to address the needs. Understand the problem you’re trying to solve. Design the products with the end in mind. Think big, develop a clear strategy, execute with purpose, and track and prioritize ruthlessly.

How do you envision scaling your organization’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?

Our vision is to create a paradigm shift in the early diagnosis and assessment of cardiac and vascular diseases. Overall, we are working on ensuring that everyone, be it a health care professional or a patient who wants or needs a CADScor®System assessment, can get one promptly. We recognize that this is far from where we are today, but given the technology in the CADScor®System, this is the right vision for us to be operating under and to deliver the expected growth.

We are systematically moving from a start-up to a scale-up; we are at an inflection point and focusing on scaling up our operations, our commercial, and our R&D capabilities to meet important cardiovascular and other unmet medical needs and grow the company through organic and commercial partnering.

Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.

Robin Karas, President Bio-Rythms Inc: “I am delighted to be working with Acarix on introducing the CADScor System in Louisiana and Mississippi. The novel AI-based acoustic technology brings significant value to physicians assessing chest pain patients. I have been in Cardiology sales for 40 years, and not since balloon angioplasty has, I seen such a game-changing technology. The initial interest and response from physicians have been very strong.”
Prof. Dr Andreas Götte, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Department of Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the St. Vincenz Hospital in Paderborn, Germany

“Usually, we have a very short time period to do all diagnostic tests. We know from the latest guidelines that a treadmill test is not appropriate for ischemic assessment. For this reason, we need imaging technologies like CT or echo, or MRI which are not available for this large volume of patients. It’s very easy to use CADScor®System, you just need four times eight seconds of non-breathing, and you can assess the flow in the coronary arteries. I think it’s very helpful to be used in patients where you want to rule out the presence of coronary artery disease or coronary artery sclerosis.

Ms Kelly Kolodney, Patient Perspective, USA

“I was having this tightness feeling around my chest for the last several weeks. At night sometimes it would get really bad. My husband – who is not an alarmist – said, “we’d better go to the ER and see what’s going on, this keeps happening.” Not long after that I had an opportunity to get a CADScor System test.

When that was done – it was such an easy and simple procedure – it took no more than maybe 10 to 15 minutes – I got my CAD-score and it was 13. It just gave me this sense of peace and relief that it wasn’t my heart. I was so grateful that I was able to do that without having to go through multiple different kinds of expensive tests to come to the same conclusion. I was just amazing.”

A Highly Empowered Clinical Leadership

Ms Helen Ljungdahl Round is a highly accomplished executive with more than 25 years of leadership experience across strategy, business management, marketing, and sales in both the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry. Her accomplishments span numerous therapeutic areas, product life cycles, and geographic areas.

Her most recent position as CEO of Amnicell, a biotech start-up based in New York City, has prepared her well for this new opportunity, along with previous roles as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Business Development for GN Hearing in Denmark and many executive leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co, Inc, working in North America, EU, the Middle East/Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

She is recognized as a strong commercial leader that has consistently built high-performing teams and organizations and delivered profitable and sustainable business results.