A University Health Network spin-off company known as Acumyn Inc. was recently acquired by global radiotherapy giant Elekta.
Acumyn was created by UHN’s Technology Development and Commercialization (TDC) office to commercialize AQUATM, a software platform developed at Princess Margaret by a team led by Dr. Daniel Letourneau. The clinical software platform brings all the demanding quality assurance tests and calibrations a radiotherapy clinic needs to perform into a single place, helping to manage and automate these complex tasks.
AQUA helps manage department workload and scheduling, reduces the likelihood of machine down-time and patient delays, and makes it easier to maintain regulatory compliance, while saving time. “There was a clear need to better manage quality assurance activities in the radiation therapy clinic, and we saw that this was a gap in the broader market,” says Dr. Daniel Letourneau, Associate Head, Medical Physics at Princess Margaret, and Co-Founder and CTO at Acumyn.
“[AQUA is] a global commercial success that came from the need to assure Princess Margaret cancer patients get the safest, highest level of care possible,” says Dr. David Jaffray, Director of the TECHNA Institute, Executive Vice-President of Technology and Innovation at UHN, and Acumyn Co-Founder.
TECHNA used its medical device engineering and product development expertise to help Acumyn “productize” AQUA. TECHNA’s services included project management; documentation to achieve ISO 13485 and 9001 certification; the creation of marketing materials, a user manual and website; user interface design; and financial services. TECHNA’s professional services provided the expertise needed to advance the software platform without requiring the small Ontario-based start-up to hire full-time employees for every role. This expertise, combined with real-world evidence and product refining provided by Princess Margaret and the support of TDC, helped Acumyn to scale-up and succeed. “TDC took the calculated risk, formed the UHN start-up and afforded the CEO the requisite business and financial support so that the value created in the company could be captured optimally,” underlines Mark Taylor, TDC’s Team Lead.
With this multi-million-dollar acquisition, Elekta plans to integrate AQUA more broadly across its portfolio while further developing its quality assurance offering through the expertise that the Acumyn team brings with it. “This will accelerate the uptake of safe radiotherapy worldwide,” concludes Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, Medical Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Adds John Reid, Director of TDC at UHN, “Acumyn’s success story is an example of UHN’s ability to discover, develop and deliver commercially interesting research, which not only attracts top investors and management teams, but also enriches the Toronto ecosystem.”