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Asian startups: I see dead people—the story of iGene

Zafar Anjum | Dec. 19, 2013
Mathavan A. Chandran, 45, a Malaysian entrepreneur, has brought IT a little closer to the morbid frontier of death by pioneering a system of digital autopsy that is finding favour in far corners of the world.

Some facts and figures about iGene:

  • The UK government has awarded a contract for this Malaysian company to offer digital autopsy as a service - starting in October 2013 - at the indicative rate of 500 UK pounds per body. The number of autopsies is expected to hit up to 200,000 per year on full rollout when 18 digital autopsy centres will be set up.
  • The firm has invested over US$ 10 million in R&D since 2006, broken down equally into IT infrastructure and salaries/wages. In order to fortify its ecosystem capabilities and avoid producing a set of disparate technologies, iGene has roped in components such as Semantics Technologies
  • This technology will help to simplify up to 70% of the work done by forensic pathologists during "classical autopsies" (where the body is dissected)
  • Technology development has been the focus for iGene Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the InfoValley Group of companies.  Over the years, iGene has acquired CMMI Level III and ISO 9001 Accreditation and thus conforms to international processes and best practices
  • iGene has two patents: An Integrated Forensic Medical Sciences System (PI 2011002970) and a System and Method for Visualizing and Learning of Human Anatomy (WO 2011/071363 A2)
  • iGene's Digital Autopsy solution has been previously used to analyse bandaged Egyptian mummies, and is being used in the horse-racing industry to diagnose equine health pre- and post-race. The logical next step will be to extend such autopsy capabilities to live human beings, revolutionising current diagnostic procedures
  • New talent is vital for a firm that has continuously ploughed its limited capital back into R&D. The firm's current R&D team consists of 40 highly skilled scientists led by Dr. Pramod G. Bagali, senior forensic pathologist, with the aim of doubling by the team strength by next year. A new R&D Team is being formed in the United Kingdom and it is envisioned to have at least 15 highly experienced research staff by 2014 to conduct next-generation R&D



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