#OttawaInc: CV Diagnostix

Jan 5, 2016

Year company was founded:     2015
Number of employees:               10
What They Do:                             Coronary Artery Disease Detection

Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of fatalities in the developed world. The World Health Organization says Cardiovascular diseases account for 31% of global deaths every year; that’s over 17 million people. Getting diagnosed can be a lengthy and multi-test process, with sometimes inaccurate results. Understandably, there is great interest among the medical community to have a simplified method to assist in diagnosing this disease.

Medical devices company, AusculSciences, has developed a technology which detects the distinct sounds caused by blockages in coronary arteries, i.e.  Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which is the most common form of heart disease. The firm contracted CV Diagnostix to develop a commercialized product and CV Diagnostix has now joined Invest Ottawa’s soft landing program to prepare to enter the North American Market.  CV Diagnostix’s Senior Vice President of Engineering and Development, Robert Griffin, spoke with IO about how this new technology works and why they chose Ottawa to  launch their business:

Robert Griffin

Robert Griffin of CV Diagnostix

Say I don’t work in technology – explain to me what you do? The problem you solve?

We are developing a non-invasive, non-stressful method for the direct detection of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) to enable clinicians to quickly establish a patient’s state and decide on the appropriate treatment. CAD is the leading cause of death in Canada. In 2011, around 1.3 million Canadians were living with Heart Disease and approximately 14,000 of them died of a heart attack. Many of these individuals were asymptomatic and only 20% were diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease prior to the heart attack. Unfortunately, 57% of the victims exhibited sudden cardiac death as the first symptom of CAD.

What was the light bulb moment that sparked the idea?

Almost 60 years ago it was discovered that certain faint heart sounds could be directly associated with blockages in the arteries, a phenomenon known as “Dock’s Murmur”. The inventors of our device realized that by the use of specialty acoustic sensors, coupled with advanced signal-processing software and algorithms, a very beneficial diagnostic aid could be developed to directly detect these sounds and thereby detect CAD.

How does your technology differ from current CAD tests?

Traditionally, if Coronary Artery Disease is suspected, Cardiologists use a variety of tests to verify the diagnosis.  The difficulty with these tests is that they are time consuming (CT Scans, Exercise testing, nuclear scans, etc), are not always conclusive in all patient populations (e.g. Women) and can be expensive to perform. The CAD-det device is being developed as an in office test that requires about 10 minutes to perform. It will be radiation free, stress free, inexpensive and easy to use. The CAD-det’s goal is to diagnose asymptomatic patients, catching the disease prior to any heart damage.

CAD-det technology

CAD-det technology

How did you discover Invest Ottawa’s Soft Landing program?

We knew of the Ottawa Heart Institutes capability and reputation for leading-edge research and wished to conduct a research study to avail of their facilities and expertise. Discussions with them led to a meeting with Business Development Manager, Ms. Sophie Chen, who introduced us to the program. After that, it was an easy decision to establish our business in Ottawa.

What made you choose it?

Ms. Chen’s enthusiastic explanation and her efforts to introduce us to helpful organizations such as BLG, Deloitte, Adecco, etc. The low-cost of establishing a ‘presence’ was also a deciding factor.

What words would you use to describe the Ottawa Ecosystem:

The strongest words which comes to mind are business-friendly, great networking and very helpful contacts. We have found that Ottawa is a ‘small community’ in the sense that everyone seems to know each other and are more than willing to make useful introductions. It is one fertile ecosystem with tremendous Human Resources which are absolutely necessary for a Medical Device company to set down roots and grow.

What Ottawa companies excite you?

To name some:  Intega, in managing our IT structure and with the development and maintenance of our computer network systems, COMNET was instrumental in getting us ‘wired and connected to the World’. These businesses have grown from small grassroots organizations and have shown great professionalism and customer service.

Read more about Ottawa’s business ecosystem here.

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