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Issue Date: July 16-31, 2011, Posted On: 7/19/2011


Radiant Sage hits market with image services

By MARTIN DESMARAIS
Penamatsa
When most new companies hit the market with a product their biggest concern is if customers will sign up. But for Radiant Sage, which targets the pharmaceutical industry with its clinical image management services, with two of the industry’s biggest companies already in the bag its not a question of if, but a matter of handling the sure-to-be large interest.

Launched in 2007 by Ven Thangaraj, Belmont-headquartered Radiant Sage has spent the last year testing its clinical management services with pharma giants Pfizer and Novartis. Both companies have thorough tested Radiant Sage’s products and both are thrilled, according to Mallik Penamatsa, Radiant Sage’s chief operating officer. 

Armed with this track record, Radiant Sage launched its services to the open market in June. “The goal was to make sure the product was up to the mark before we launched it to the general market,” said Penamatsa.

And the positive response is as expected. “We have already been getting inquires from not only biotech and pharma companies, but also core labs who are very interested in our technology,” said Penamatsa.

Radiant Sage’s clinical management services are specifically designed for companies running clinical trials on potential drug products. As part of the mountain of data needed to successful get a new drug approved, these companies also need to keep track of images from trials, such as X-rays or CAT scans. In both the analysis and drug approval process, these images need to be accessible and managed in connection to trials they are part of. With some trials generating millions of images, it is a lot to manage and traditionally added a lot of time to the analysis and approval process. Radiant Sage’s Web-based system manages these images, and the accompanying data, all electronically, which means they are accessible almost instantly.

This last facet has pharma companies jumping for joy.

“Our customers say what use to take them months is now taking them minutes,” Penamatsa said.

Radiant Sage’s services also have several other benefits, according to Penamatsa. These include determining the quality of images and sorting out bad images, as well as the ability to view and share an image with others without having to download the image.

The company has a business model with two versions of its services: Core-Lab-in-a-Box and the RadVista Viewer. 

The Core-Lab-in-a-Box is the company’s software-as-a-service model. Customers can access all of Radiant Sage’s clinical management services through a Web-based system and have no need to install any hardware or infrastructure. Customers pay a fee to continue using the system.

The RadVista Viewer follows an enterprise licensing model in which customers can an imaging workstation installed on site. This workstation gives anyone at the company access to multi-image displays and sophisticated imaging processing, annotation, segmentation and 3D rendering tools. This product is a more permanent model of using Radiant Sage’s clinical management services.

Penamatsa said the company’s expectation is that most new customers will opt for the Core-Lab-in-a-Box product and eventually evolve into the enterprise license model. 

“Once they run a few of their smaller clinical trials [using Radiant Sage’s clinical management services] that is when they realize the value of the system and start looking at the enterprise-wide license,” he added.

He estimates that with Pfizer and Novartis good for another 50 or so Core-Lab-in-a-Box trials over the next year, Radiant Sage should be able to sign up enough other customers to hit 100 trials all together during this same time period. He also estimates that the company will sign up one or two enterprise licenses over the next year.

Bootstrapped from the start and entirely self-funded, Penamatsa said the company does not have any plans to receive outside funding in the immediate future.

Radiant Sage has about 20 employees, with most of them located in the company’s development center in Hyderabad.

The company is powered by three experienced executives — founder Thangaraj, who serves as president; Chander Jain, vice president of development and services, who runs India operations; and Penamatsa.

Thangaraj has 20 years of experience in the biomedical field, including working with companies focused on medical technology and investing in new company ventures. 

Prior to founding Radiant Sage, he was president of Megasoft’s Life Sciences and still currently serves as a consultant to Trianz Inc., which acquired Megasoft in 2009.  Before his role with Megasoft, he started several companies and developed multiple software programs to aid in medical imaging and medical imaging management. He has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and a second bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Jain has 15 years of international business experience and over 10 years in the health-care industry. Prior to joining Radiant Sage, he founded Medical Imaging System. He also held positions with Bintek Marketing and Procter & Gamble. He has a bachelor’s degree from Delhi University in Delhi. 

Penamatsa has about 25 years of marketing, sales, business development, and operations experience. Before joining Radiant Sage, he was the COO of Systel Inc. Prior to Systel, he founded Enmed Inc. where he held the positions of COO and vice president of marketing and sales. He also spent almost 10 years in various positions with Cable & Wireless and with other companies, such as Mercury Communications Ltd., L’Avenir Telecoms Ltd. and Fifth City Consultants. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from the Indian Institute of Management & Commerce and a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University. 

According to Penamatsa, he was quick to jump at the chance to join Radiant Sage and founder Thangaraj. “As always, from my perspective, it is the person behind the idea. Ven is someone I always want to work with,” said Penamatsa. “Beyond the person behind the idea is the idea itself and it is a very unique idea.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity,” he added.

Penamatsa said he also has a lot of confidence in Thangaraj, who had an idea of how to do a better job of image management for clinical trials based on his technology experience, but also had the business acumen to start a company to develop and sell his vision. He feels having a founder with both the industry experience, technology expertise and business background is a big bonus. “Having someone with all those skills is a rare apocalypse,” he said.
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