University spin-off wins research commercialisation accolade

23 August 2023
DetectedX improves cancer diagnosis
DetectedX, a company spun out of the University of Sydney, has won the Research Commercialisation Award at this year's Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards.
Image of a group of people standing together smiling, the person in the middle is holding a trophy.

Leong Mar, University of Sydney Head of Commercialisation; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Joanne Wright, co-founder Dr Moe Suleiman from the Faculty of Medicine and Health; Industry Lead External Engagement Katie Richmond; Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure) Professor Simon Ringer. 

Formed in 2019, the company helps clinicians diagnose a range of cancers faster and more accurately. It’s intelligent, interactive, web-based medical imaging educational programs now have more than 4500 users in 150 countries. Major vendors include GE Healthcare, Fujifilm, and Volpara Health.  

DetectedX was created by the University of Sydney’s Professor Patrick Brennan, Professor Mary Rickard, and Dr Moe Suleiman. They are global leaders in disease detection: Professor Brennan is the world’s most published medical radiation scientist; Professor Rickard pioneered breast cancer screening in Australia and South East Asia; and Dr Suleiman is a recipient of the John C Harsanyi Medal for Innovation. All are committed to improving disease detection and outcomes.  

The genesis of DetectedX was research led by Professor Brennan in 2010; his finding that mammograms failed to detect 30 percent of breast cancers in Australia were consistent with results in other countries. This led to the development, in the same year, of BreastScreen Reader Assessment Strategy (BREAST), a digital tool designed to assess the performance of radiologists and radiology registrars and reduce misdiagnosis.  

“Subsequent work with colleagues discovered shortfalls across a range of diagnostic methods. We expanded the program to include ultrasound, CT scans and MRI screening for a range of cancers including lung and prostate cancers,” said Professor Brennan. 

“DetectedX was formed in 2019 on the back of this wider offer.” 

A licensing agreement with the University of Sydney soon followed. 

Delivered via a web-based platform, DetectedX’s training offers lectures from world-leading academics (including Nobel Prize nominee László Tabár), quizzes and assessment modules to improve users’ diagnostic skills. Using sample diagnostic imagery as the basis of testing, the platform’s use of AI allows it to deliver tailored training that meets trainees’ individual needs. This offering was rapidly expanded in 2020 to improve diagnosis of COVID-19.

"DetectedX represents a fantastic combination of medical imaging, artificial intelligence and pedagogical research developments supported at the University of Sydney. Its methods have been published in over 100 scientific journals and supported the ongoing research of 30 PhD students.” said Professor Emma Johnston, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).  

"In the past ten years the university has supported the formation of 3-5 companies each year built around the intellectual property of our staff. The creation of spin off companies is a critical element of commercialisation of university research. This work represents a significant contribution to Australia’s economy and further proof of our researchers’ commitment to solving pressing problems.”

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