Delphinus Medical Technologies has grand ambitions to detect and defeat breast cancer

The team at Delphinus Medical Technologies doesn't come to work every day with a plan to move their startup forward incrementally. It has bigger ambitions than that.

"You need to come in every day and take swings for the fences," says Mark Forchette, president and CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies. "That is our culture."

The Plymouth-based startup specializes in creating a new way to detect breast cancer utilizing technology spun out of Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

SoftVue, its principal technology, is a whole breast ultrasound system that allows physicians to image the entire breast, including the chest wall. The technology platform incorporates a circular ultrasound transducer, presenting cross-sectional ultrasound slices through the entire volume of breast tissue. The multi-dimensional imaging captures not only reflected echoes in a 360-degree array, but also signals passing through the breast, depicting tissue characterization.

The 5-year-old company set the record for venture capital in Michigan last year when it closed on its Series C last fall. Delphinus Medical Technologies raised $39.5 million with Farmington Hills-based Beringea leading the round. Other local investors include Ann Arbor-based Arboretum Ventures and North Coast Technology Investors. Venture Investors, Hopen Life Science Ventures, and Waycross Ventures.

"There is a lot of local commitment to this company," Forchette says.

Delphinus Medical Technologies has raised more than $60 million overall since its launch. All of that seed capital has allowed it to go on a hiring spree, adding 18 people over the last year alone. It now employs nearly 50 people and is still hiring.

"This round really supercharged our efforts," Forchette says. "With this round we are really rocketing forward."

That growing team is currently working on commercializing SoftVue with a plan for launching it this year. A harder push is set for 2017. Delphinus Medical Technologies is planning to launch a large multi-site clinical study to support a PMA application for a supplemental screening indication for women with dense breasts later this year.

Delphinus Medical Technologies will begin by prospectively imaging 10,000 women with SoftVue in eight centers across the country. The study will compare SoftVue to digital mammography, and demonstrate its effectiveness in finding cancers that are not seen with mammography, while reducing false positives, thereby reducing the need for follow-up testing.

"This will be a huge inflection point for us," Forchette says.

In the meantime the team at Delphinus Medical Technologies is swinging for the fences by focusing on a couple main priorities. Develop breakthrough technologies that demonstrate clear value, and do what it says it will do. Focus on that and the skill and passion for the work will shine through.

"That competitive advantage is what investors saw," Forchette says. "It's a rare opportunity. It’s why we have been able to raise what we did."

- Written by Jon Zemke
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