Rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) continue to introduce the technology to a wide range of industrial applications—the medical industry being no exception. Advances in analytical techniques, integrated with the record of data in the healthcare organizations, bring about many potential use cases of AI in the fields of medicine and healthcare.
The role of AI also expands in the early detection of severe diseases enabling appropriate treatments and better outcomes for healthy living. This semblance shares the expertise and performance of specialist providers who tend to lack the precise fundamentals behind improving treatment outcomes.
Moreover, AI also assists in identifying the severities in infants, including infant meningitis and based on the identification of the infection; healthcare professionals can diagnose the problem and provide prompt medical treatments. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for a positive outcome, yet identifying meningitis is a complex process involving an array of signs, symptoms and multiple causal factors which require novel solutions to support clinical decision-making.
Newborn Solutions, a medical device start-up that enables non-invasive screening and monitoring of infections created—first-in-class—an investigational medical device (not for sale) that uses high-resolution ultrasound, unique coupling materials, and Artificial Intelligence algorithms—to accurately rule out or confirm meningitis in neonates and small infants in a quick, easy and cost-effective way.
Under the coherent leadership of Javier Jiménez, Founder and CEO, the company is setting up the new standard for screening and treatment monitoring and is revolutionizing the management and diagnosis of infant meningitis by enabling quick, easy detection, quantitative, reliable and frequent treatment monitoring.
In an interview with Insights Care, Javier Jiménez sheds light on the professional tenure showcasing the journey of Newborn Solutions and unveils its revolutionary medical device that is empowering innovations in the healthcare niche.
Javier, enlighten our readers about Newborn Solutions in detail.
Newborn Solutions is a medical device startup that enables non-invasive screening and monitoring of infections in serous body fluids, with an initial and primary focus on infant meningitis. Meningitis suspicion is challenging due to the unspecific signs associated with the infection, such as fever of unknown source, particularly in infants and newborns with very little symptomatology.
That’s why history and physical examination alone are often insufficient to confirm or exclude the diagnosis. Lumbar puncture to draw a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is an essential investigation and the current standard; however, it is difficult to perform and potentially hazardous for the sick child. Neosonics, the medical device we developed, will be used to accurately rule out or confirm meningitis in a quick, easy and cost-effective way.
Neosonics is a first-in-class medical device that uses high-resolution ultrasound, unique coupling materials, and Artificial Intelligence algorithms to automatically count, at the push of a button, white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid directly below the infant fontanelle, a well-established diagnostic marker for infections.
We also work on our software-based development named Neosonics-AI. AI gives us the automatization, the speed, and the accuracy. And when combing the non-invasive cell concentration measurement with Big Data, AI also has the potential to empower the user (expert and non-expert) with diagnostic information of the likely causing organisms so that the precise treatment, dose, and duration can be applied anywhere.
We are working on second-line applications, upon request from key opinion leaders. Notably, the device is being tested to show clinical feasibility in uveitis and peritonitis. We are thrilled to say that the start of the clinical trials is already very promising.
Please tell us about your journey highlighting the novelties of Newborn Solutions in the healthcare niche.
I founded Newborn Solutions after my participation in the M+Visión program, an initiative of the Madri+d Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to leverage the biomedical industry in the Regional Government of Madrid. Madrid-MIT M+Visión researchers are selected from all over the world to form multinational and multicultural teams to generate technology-based ideas that solve unmet medical needs. The start-up was launched in 2015 with the desire to revolutionize the field of medical devices for non-invasive monitoring and screening of infant meningitis.
Our unique selling proposition is Neosonics, a quick, easy and cost-effective medical device to enable non-invasive screening and monitoring of serous fluids infections, with an initial focus on infant meningitis. In industrialized countries where the incidence of infant meningitis is relatively low, Neosonics will limit the use of lumbar punctures to only those very few positive cases (3-5%), thus, dramatically reducing the use of such an invasive procedure in most of the suspected patients.
In low-income settings where the burden of the disease is high but there is a lack of laboratory infrastructure and training, the device will help reduce misdiagnosis, mortality, and morbidity rates.
What are the core values upon which Newborn Solutions is built? What is its vision and mission?
Our mission is to enable quick, easy, cost-effective screening and monitoring of infectious diseases in serous fluids through innovative non-invasive technology. We believe that the future of diagnostics must go through minimally invasive, quick, easy to use, and low-cost technologies. This is our vision from Newborn Solutions given our operations in developed countries and developing and resource-constrained countries, and that is why we are using low-cost high-resolution ultrasound combined with AI for complete automatization and Big Data to enable accurate diagnosis and treatment.
What is your opinion on the necessity for the healthcare industry to leverage the emerging trends of technology, concerning fulfilling your client’s requirements in the healthcare industry?
Clients have traditionally demanded more and more non-invasive solutions that help them take quick and accurate diagnostic solutions so that they can efficiently treat and provide better to their patients.
The disruption of AI in healthcare together with the use of Big Data seems to offer unlimited and already untapped solutions to the healthcare professional and system. However, these technologies often require access to electronic patient data records and connect to remote servers. As a result, sensitive ethical and privacy concerns must be well addressed by regulatory bodies to enable the healthcare system to benefit from the advantages of these technologies.
Without ethical and privacy concerns being properly regulated to protect the citizen and the healthcare system, clients (hospitals) should carefully consider the adoption of such new products and if, in case of adopted, they can guarantee the rights of their patients will not be breached.
What was your inspiration and commitment behind developing innovative healthcare products to improve people’s lives?
We strongly believe that innovation in medical technologies improves patient care and healthcare sustainability, and our goal is to create a social impact on people’s health worldwide. This means that we need to work first on what the patient is really in need of and only then apply innovation to address that need.
As an established industry leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare industry?
We are not an established industry leader. If anything, we are a start-up trying to have a global meaningful impact in healthcare and in a way, we respect diversity and the environment as much as possible.
My advice is to take one step after the other, having a clear long-term vision in mind, validate/test every decision before you take it, make the necessary steps to reflect on the big picture in case adjustments are needed and if you are not thinking about your project 18h a day, do not take any further step.
What are your future goals, and how do you envision further strengthening the stronghold of Newborn Solutions in the healthcare sector?
Neosonics, the device to non-invasively screen for infant meningitis, will be launched in late 2023 according to our plan. We will enter Spain first to show profitability and where we have invaluable KOLs with whom we are spreading a state of opinion about the project, and always with our support to the Spanish Meningitis Association.
The USA is our next target market followed by a country with a high disease burden yet a lack of resources like India. If we show adoption in these regions, we will be proving the scalability of the business not only in infant meningitis but also in other second-line applications we are developing, like peritonitis or uveitis.
While we have committed commercialization partners in Spain, we are looking forward to engaging with a strategic partner for global commercialization with whom we can maximize concerted efforts and the jointly delivered value as much as possible.