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Success Stories

An AI-based cardiac risk stratification platform

TIIM Healthcare Pte Ltd​

​Patients with chest pain are usually advised to immediately seek medical assessment and chest pain is one of the most common presentations at Emergency Departments. Only a small subset of such patients will go on to develop a Major Adverse Cardiac Events, including sudden death. Given that chest pain is a relatively non-specific symptom, it is challenging to differentiate and triage those who will progress to serious outcomes from less dangerous conditions.

SGH clinician researchers developed an AI-based intelligent monitoring platform that allows rapid, real time, reliable and less expensive triaging of patients presenting with chest pain. aiTriage™ outperforms the current gold standard methods of assessing MACE risk and provides an opportunity to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes due to the ease, speed and accuracy of triaging.

TIIM Healthcare Pte Ltd was founded by the inventors in 2016, together with a seasoned local healthcare investor. TIIM Healthcare successfully raised seed investment to further develop the technology, and will be seeking Series A as they expand their regional customer base. The company was recently recognised as one of the top 30% of startups by Early Metrics.

Anaesthesia platform for accurate epidurals

HiCura Medical Pte Ltd​

​Epidural anaesthesia is commonly used as pain relief in labour. However, the current use of the blind palpation landmark technique to locate the correct location and angle for needle insertion, is challenging. As a result, there may be multiple epidural needle insertion attempts causing pain and risk of complications, such as spinal cord injury.

KKH clinician researchers worked with NUS to develop an AI-based system that helps anaesthetists accurately locate the epidural space to administer anaesthetic.

The technology comprises machine vision algorithms and image processing technology, coupled with the use of real-time ultrasound, to identify the optimal landmark and insertion pathway for needle insertion. This invention is designed to allow use with existing ultrasound machines and fits seamlessly into the current clinical workflow.

A Singapore startup, HiCura Medical Pte Ltd, was formed in 2019 to develop and commercialise this technology, and has received the support of the NUS GRIP programme and the JumpStart programme.

VR surgical training- Surgery in Virtual Reality and AI
​Kyalio Pte Ltd
In 2020, National Neuroscience Institute collaborated with Kyalio Pte Ltd to develop Virtual Reality (VR) modules based on actual surgeries to place users in a first-person learning experience. Coupled with Kyalio’s proprietary 3D Stereoscopy, learners appreciate surgical techniques and anatomy through 3D VR and experience the vital processes of the surgery as if they were there in-person.

Surgical training is traditionally done through 1-to-1 mentorship and is difficult to change due to the "hands on" nature of the job. In the digital age and even before COVID-19, the surgical world has started going digital and scaling up training by leveraging technology.

There is a large unmet need for neurosurgeons in Asia and this is exacerbated by the imbalance between the number of experienced doctors and the rapidly growing number of junior doctors. There is an apparent need for structured digital training that brings clinical relevance and lessons promoting practical knowledge which can be applied in daily practice.

A license agreement was signed with Kyalio in 2021 enabling the commercialisation of the content. Institutions can subscribe to the bite-sized online modules, narrated by the performing surgeon, sharing steps, techniques, problem solving and tips. The ongoing collaboration has generated more than 30 neurosurgical modules that are available through Kyalio’s App.

The team at Kyalio aims to expand their deployment to more countries and institutions in South East Asia, South Asia and Africa. Kyalio currently also develops training content for a wide range of other disciplines.

​​Anti-IL11 assets for inhibition of fibrosis
​Enleofen Bio Pte Ltd
NHCS and Duke-NUS researchers jointly discovered that the interleukin 11 (IL-11) pathway is critical for the development of fibrosis and through its inhibition, fibrosis can be prevented. IL-11 is therefore a compelling drug target.

SingHealth and Duke-NUS filed joint patent applications on this technology, and the patent portfolio was exclusively licensed to a startup, Enleofen Bio Pte Ltd, which was founded by the inventors Prof Stuart Cook and Sebastian Schaefer in 2017, together with two local Singapore-based biotech investors. Enleofen successfully raised Series A funding to further develop the early stage technology to prototype molecules and to significantly expand the patent portfolio.

Enleofen attracted a serious buyer, Boehringer Ingelheim, who acquired the worldwide exclusive rights to Enleofen’s IL-11 platform to develop first-in-class therapies across a broad range of fibro-inflammatory diseases. These assets include the extensive patent portfolio exclusively licensed from SHS and NUS to Enleofen in April 2017, assets developed by Enleofen, and assets co-developed by Enleofen funding work in SingHealth/Duke-NUS.

Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading research-driven pharmaceutical companies, develops breakthrough therapies and innovative healthcare solutions in areas of unmet medical needs to improve the lives of humans and animals. Under this deal, Enleofen may earn payments exceeding USD1 billion per product, making it Singapore’s largest biotech deal and one of the largest preclinical biopharma deals worldwide.

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Revolutionizing the detection of eye diseases

​The increasing prevalence of eye diseases resulting from conditions such as diabetes and old age, has led to an increased interest in early detection of these diseases. Such diseases can be easily and successfully treated through early and prompt diagnosis and regular screening. The pressure is on healthcare services to adopt more efficient screening methods.

To address this problem, clinicians / scientists from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and NUS School of Computing came together to develop an automated deep learning system that is able to detect three major eye diseases concurrently, namely diabetic retinopathy (DR), age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma suspect (GS) from analysis of retinal fundus images.

Joint patent application filed by SingHealth and NUS on this technology, was licensed to EyRIS, a startup, which was co-founded by the inventors from NUS and SERI, and a local IT healthcare company NovaHealth in 2018. The commercial product, SELENA+, is HSA-approved and has received regulatory approvals in Europe (CE mark), Malaysia, Brazil and Indonesia. Headquartered in Singapore, the company has global sales in 26 countries.

This cost-effective solution SELENA+, has been deployed in the Singapore National DR screening program (SiDRP) and has been adopted by Diabetes Singapore as part of their Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program. This award-winning product was cited as one of the projects in Singapore’s National AI strategy.

The success of this project has piqued interest in the development and adoption of many other AI based solutions among the Researchers at SingHealth.

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KLARO™ In Vivo Surgical Lighting

​Vivo Surgical Private Limited

Project LyT:iT started in the Head and Neck Surgery Department of SGH and NCCS, where Clinical Innovation Engineers from the SingHealth Medtech Office conducted a weeks-long needs-finding attachment, adapting the proven Stanford Biodesign methodology. After rigorous validation with stakeholders, one of the top unmet clinical needs identified was for a way to illuminate a deep, narrow surgical site. MTO’s Clinical Innovation Engineers created engineering requirement specifications based on stakeholders’ feedback on lighting use cases.

Over the next 4 years, clinician innovators and Clinical Innovation Engineers conceptualised a possible solution, created initial prototype designs, as well as invited Vivo Surgical, a Singapore-headquartered surgical technology company, on board to assist with further development and prototyping. Together with Vivo Surgical’s partner, Panasonic Lighting (Europe), the teams’ co-development efforts led to the creation of a small battery-powered lighting device prototype that could be placed deep into open surgical sites. This single-use surgical lighting solution would also provide safe, cool and uniform lighting during such open surgery procedures.

Consequently, the technology was exclusively licensed to Vivo Surgical. MTO, an ISO 13485-certified office, transferred LyT:iT design history documentation and relevant information needed for regulatory approval to Vivo Surgical, who took charge of all commercialisation efforts. The final commercial product, KLARO™, is now FDA registered, CE certified and HSA approved. It has been cleared for use in SGH, SKH and NDCS, and is now being introduced to hospitals throughout Europe, South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

This product contributes to reducing overall healthcare costs and improved clinical outcomes, adding to the list of medical devices designed in Singapore for the world.