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Synaptiq: Easing Diagnosis and Imaging Processes with AI

Synaptiq | Diana Andritchi
Synaptiq | Mihai Cata | Co-Founder

The first step before prescriptions is an accurate diagnosis. As easy as this look, it isn’t; researchers reveal an estimated mortality rate of 40,000 to 80,000 patients every year due to misdiagnosis.

Noting the gravity of this challenge, leaders around the world are inventing solutions to ensure healthcare systems with tools that help in the accurate diagnosis of any ailment and aid the mission of saving lives. These efforts are given further thrust by advancements in technology, especially with Artificial Intelligence. AI has provided the healthcare ecosystem with the seeds of effective disease diagnosis, amplified rate of drug discovery, and much more.

One such company, amalgamating teamwork with technicalities of AI is Synaptiq, which was cofounded by Diana Andritchi – the Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of the company.

Synaptiq is improving medical imaging processes with the help of automation and artificial intelligence. For this, it has also developed its unique software – Mediq that helps doctors identify and delineate cancerous tumors and organs at risk. It is able to accurately delineate organs at risk and target volumes for all areas, the contouring helping doctors to precisely distribute dose volumes of radiation.

Through the interview highlights below, let us dive into the world of Synaptiq and its solutions!

Please brief us about Synaptiq and the ideas and developments that led to its inception.

Synaptiq is a start-up company based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Our main field of activity is represented by the development of software based on artificial intelligence for automation and improvement of imaging processes in the medical field.

Our start-up is formed by a team of fifteen AI enthusiasts with expertise in various areas, from economic to technical backgrounds. The partnership that stays at the basis of our start-up is one of the company’s main assets and values.

Our current focus is to develop robust, accurate and user – friendly software, while establishing strong partnerships, identifying potential customers and becoming known on the market. “Mediq” is the software we develop to help doctors identify and delineate cancerous tumors and organs at risk.

What are the key products and services offered by the company and how is it impacting the demographic concerned?

“Mediq” is the software we develop to help doctors identify and delineate cancerous tumors and organs at risk. We aim to achieve this solution using Artificial Intelligence. This technology distinguishes itself from traditional technologies in healthcare through its ability to gather data, process it in a sophisticated manner, and give a complex analysis to the end-user.

Our solution satisfies a crucial need and it solves an important bottleneck within radiotherapy treatment planning.

The existing solutions on the market are helpful to radiation oncologists, but the important problem (the big amount of time needed for contouring) still remains. A doctor needs around 4 hours for the contouring/ delineation process per patient and the result is very subjective. In this case, a software that has AI at its basis could come with a huge difference.

With the help of AI, tumor identification can be done in a fraction of time, with higher accuracy and objectivity. This will speed up the process, increasing the patient’s survival rate.

What are the core values of the company? How are you driving the company to achieve its mission and vision statement?

Our mission is to empower radiation oncologists to save more lives. We aim to achieve this potential by:

  1. Using unique AI-based software architecture
  2. Having a well-balanced team of prepared experts
  3. Establishing strong partnerships with research and healthcare institutions

Our core values are – Teamwork, Passion, Integrity, Innovation

In your opinion, how is AI increasing the survival rates among cancer patients? How is your company using this technology in unique ways to deliver the best results?

Nowadays, delineation is generally clinically performed with little (if any) machine assistance, even though it is both time-consuming (it can take up to 4 hours per patient) and prone to interobserver variation (the overlap between contours made by 2 different radiation oncologists rarely exceeds 75%).

In order to achieve faster radiotherapy treatments while avoiding potential errors, it is imperative to make tumor identification and delineation less subjective and observer-dependent.

The groundbreaking innovation appears together with the possibility of having a software assistant that you can teach the same way you would teach a student. Machine Learning algorithms do exactly that. They mimic the learning process of humans by making use of prior information inferred from many previous use cases. At the same time, they are also capable of learning the algorithmic behavior of their less intelligent, but worthy predecessors.

Being able to make use of this new learning paradigm they can access prior clinical expertise by training on huge amounts of medical data. Given access to performant hardware, Deep Neural Network can learn in days what would take us years.

We develop the software using AI (Machine Learning algorithms). Artificial Intelligence is a solution that could help doctors make more informed clinical decisions regarding patients. Moreover, AI can process images and patient health records with more accuracy and expediency than humans are capable of, lessening physician workload, reducing misdiagnosis, and empowering clinical staff to provide more value.

What are the key challenges in the industry and how are you infusing your leadership skills to turn them into opportunities to chart the company’s growth upwards?

Healthcare remains one of the least digitalized industries, leaving room for huge opportunities that manage to fill this gap.

Looking at the newest trends, we can see that AI engineering and Hyperautomation are used for solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. We believe that these can easily be transposed into healthcare applications and bring real added value.

AI is giving mometum to medical diagnosis with its potential to incite drastic improvements to hospital processes. Among the most promising clinical applications of AI is – diagnostic imaging.

The combination of AI with medical imaging will lead to the transformation of modern medicine.

As an experienced leader, what advice would you like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who wish to venture into the competitive industry that you are serving?

Two important lessons we learned during our journey are: you need to know the market and you need a well-balanced team.

Regarding the first lesson, it is really important to perform a proper market research before starting to build the product (a very common mistake).

For the second one, the team always is crucial, even more so when the company is very young. We’ve really tried to bring in a nice mix of skills and expertise to cover all of our needs and have always prioritized quality over quantity.

What are the future goals of the company? How does it envision scaling up its operations and reach in 2022 and beyond?

We have set a clear plan. We test our product at our partner radiotherapy clinics, we will gather feedback and improve the product. Moreover, we expect to obtain the certification for our product in 2023 and to acquire customers not only from Europe.

The Team of Synaptiq

At Synaptiq, they are a team of 15 innovation enthusiasts. Their awarded physicist CEO transformed his dream into a plan and gathered a talented team in the pursuit of merging medical analysis with Artificial Intelligence. The idea came to his mind when he was working at the German Cancer Research Center. Having discussions with various doctors, he understood what the important bottlenecks in radiotherapy area.

Dragos Duse is the CEO of Synaptiq. He is a Machine Learning expert, an awarded Physicist and a passionate Researcher. He graduated Chief of Physics promotion following a Master in Computational Physics at Heidelberg University. He designed AI algorithms at National Center for Tumor Diseases and German Cancer Research Institute. He gained experience as a computer scientist at Fraunhofer IPA, in Mannheim, Germany. At Synaptiq, he plans to use his knowledge for revolutionizing the Healthcare Industry.

To be successful in such an ambitious project, bringing together a highly qualified and passionate team is essential. This is why they constantly study, explore different perspectives and grow their expertise, by attracting the best professionals to join their cause.

First who resonated with this thought was Mihai, back then, researcher at Romanian Institute of Science and Technology. The team then started working on product development and made some progress, but they needed someone to focus on business administration and also to develop a business plan, and raise capital. With this in mind, Roxana and Diana joined the team and started to work on this project. They both have master’s degrees in business and experience in multinational companies.

When they got their first investment, they decided to further grow their technical team. Three more people joined the cause, with the extraordinary experience behind them. At the moment, they are a team of seventeen passionate people, including six of the best radiation oncologists in Romania. Together their mission is to empower radiation oncologists to save more lives.




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