We interviewed Professor Osman Ratib, Co-Founder and CEO of Agora Care SA. Medtech startup Agora Care is the first company to develop a patient-centred platform for medical image storage and communication. Its second financing round of CHF 1.8 million will enable extending its clinical deployment in Switzerland.
Osman, tell us more about you and your background!
I am a former chairman of Radiology at University Hospital of Geneva and before that vice-chair of Radiology at UCLA in Los Angeles. Having dedicated my career to medical imaging technologies, I also invested a large part of my efforts in the development of computer platforms for the management and analysis of medical images. The developments of these software platforms had a great worldwide success in academic institutions and research centers with Open Source software such as OsiriX ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OsiriX ), or the data sharing platform KHEOPS (www.kheops.online ), now used at several academic institutions in Switzerland and around the world. When I retired last year, I decided to devote myself entirely to a new project that has been close to my heart for several years and to launch my own startup called Agora Care to develop it. This new platform will FINALLY provide a unique and economical solution (free for patients!) to facilitate the management and communication of radiological examinations carried out in different institutions and which are very often not available when needed.
When was your company born and who is your core team?
Our company was founded on July 2021, together with my partner Joël Spaltenstein, co-founder and longtime colleague, also MD but essentially software developer who participated in numerous projects with for almost 20 years. Our first round of pre-seed funding of 1 mio was completed on July 2021, ane we just closed our second seed round of 1.8 mio last month. We started with 3 software engineers of my former group of software development and hired a 4th one in July this year. We also hired several independent part-time co-workers (graphists, web developers, market supptt) as well as two parttime young assistants for patient support and recruitment.
How did you scale your company to the actual size?
After finalizing our first software prototype as well as deployment of our web3 cloud platform in a highly secured professional cloud provider hosting our data in data centers in Switzerland (https://www.exoscale.com/ ) we initiated two pilot clinical project in two of the largest radiology networks of western Switzerland. We are now expanding to a third network as well as plans to expand to regional academic hospitals.
Our next steps includes extension to the German and Italian regions of Switzerland as well as a couple European countries in 2023. Our goal is to initiate some pilot studies in the US in 2024. We are also initiating several research studies that will demonstrate our ability to collect and curate date from Agora Care repositories to provide the necessary platform of data management for multidisciplinary research projects with industry and academic center but also to support machine learning and development of AI platforms.
For more details you will find attached the press release of our recent second round of funding and the announcement of our clinical implementations in radiology centres as well as a short slide deck describing our project.