Meet BioPixS: pioneering standardization in biophotonics through phantoms
The TinyBrains partner BioPixS focuses on developing optical phantoms and standardization methods specifically for biophotonics applications. Phantoms are innovative tissues that mimic biological tissues used in multiple research areas, ranging from validating clinical methodologies to developing algorithms, testing and calibrating medical instruments, or standardizing protocols and devices.
Founded in 2020 as a spinoff of the University College Cork, the Irish company was born after realizing that there was an unmet high demand for these products and a business opportunity to commercialize phantoms. After only three years of activity, they have six different products already in the market.
We chat with Sanathana Konugolu, co-founder and CEO of the company, and CTO Claudia Guadagno, after they visit Barcelona for the Consortium General Assembly. Their company has just presented the fNIRS phantom, partially developed thanks to the funding of TinyBrains.
BioPixS CEO Sanathana Konugolu (right) at the 2023 Photonics West Conference with colleagues
Question. What was your original idea when you founded the company in 2020 and how has it evolved?
Answer. Our vision has always been to provide customers with top-quality tools to accelerate and standardize the field of biophotonics. We have been growing steadily towards this vision. In the beginning, we addressed the diffuse optics market, and we have expanded it to fluorescence, Raman, OCT and more since then, building with cutting-edge standardization tools to impact the biophotonics market.
Q. How do you choose which type of phantom to develop next? How do you detect the market needs?
A. We always have plenty of ideas to develop, but the choice depends a lot on the customer needs, specific gaps and market trends. We detect the market needs with constant interactions with customers, and we try to listen to them, trying to understand where we can add value. Also, we join conferences and exhibitions to get further live feedback.
Q. How long does it take between detecting the need and bringing a product to the market?
A. Regarding the time to get the products to the market, BioPixS pays the most attention to the quality and reliability of the product. The first phase of product development, going from the idea to the prototype, is relatively fast. The most important aspect is validating the product for a wide range of biophotonics applications, which takes most of the time. We are proud to say that our strong urge to serve customers with the best products keeps us moving with the rigorous validation process.
Q. Do you think that you could extend the use of phantoms to new areas of application beyond research?
A. Even if the most interesting area for phantoms is the testing, characterisation and validation of systems in biomedical optics, we believe there are great potentialities for its use as a calibration tool to provide top-notch performance of biophotonics devices. We are very much on our way to tap this market. Another example is the growing field of neuroscience for brain-computer interfaces. That is an exciting market which we aim to reach soon.