The way CEO, Michael Trudnak tells it, there are some very good reasons why he and his team have been finding reasons to survive in this tough economic climate. His company's technology is an intelligent imaging engine that is capable of extracting embedded knowledge and has the capacity to analyze and detect anomalies, which can not only change, but save lives.
Guardian's Signature Mapping
"Six and a half years ago, there was very little computer detection when it came to mining of images. The way it was done was someone would put a triangle or a circle on an image and they would say, 'hey you guys may want to investigate that.'
"Knowing that this wasn't going to be good enough as time went on, we gathered a bunch of PhDs and said to them: 'Okay, here is the problem. In a cancer patient, breast cancer for example... Why does a doctor, 50% of the time miss cancer when looking at a black and white image of a mammogram?" It's difficult. These guys risk their careers every day when they look at one.
Perhaps this is one reason why so many doctors are among the ranks of investors in Guardian Technologies International (OTC:GDTI). The small Virginia based company has set out to change the way detection and "imaging informatics" are handled not only in health care, but in other target markets as well.
"The images are terrible, the quality is terrible and that's why they're using (much more expensive) MRI's more and more these days," explains Trudnak. "What we can do is take that black and white image. Enhance the image. We add a standardization of colors and we can actually differentiate between something benign or malignant."
The company, actually has perfected it. In the breast cancer space alone, they spent major databases and all the information within them to perfect the process.
The company has burned through lots of cash and resources to get to this point and being a public company, the urgency has definitely set in that one of these days, they're going to have to start to show a profit.
Thankfully, some observers feel that those days may finally be within grasp.
The company is looks intriguing because its technology has applications beyond the medical scope as well.
"We looked at bombs, because bombs in luggage are all organic- at least most of them. We asked, 'Can we differentiate, in an X-Ray image, something that is benign versus something that is a threat?' Lo and behold, we found that we could do that as well. We've developed some very sophisticated algorithms that separate the information- because there is information in every image."
Even in depth, the company's technology can separate items that are on top of one another, they can remove the garbage from an image to get to the precious "nugget" of information. The technology has been showcased to not only the U.S. Government, but also to other governments around the world.
"During an X-ray scan at an airport or security checkpoint, a lot of times those 'items of interest' can be other things. They can be drugs, for example or money, actually."
What gives the company's value is that all of this data has been translated into various algorithms that they have also patented and as bio-tech investors know, patents play the major role in making technology a profitable business. This is especially true when one considers that the company may be poised to run for years in a unique set of spaces with little competition and products in several different markets.
While some companies may assert big claims or even inflate them, this company appears to have done it's homework and profitable times appear to be within reach. Even in the short term, it looks like the company may be due some good news.
In late August, the company announced that its Software Quality Assurance Team has completed all unit, component, integration, and systems tests of Signature Mapping TBDx™ (TBDx™) in preparation for September clinical trials in South Africa.
A couple of years ago, while attending that RSNA show (Radiological Society of North America)- which brings people from around the world to witness the latest advances in imaging research and technology- a bunch of doctors from South Africa walked by the company's booth.
"Hey listen, we have a serious problem," they told Trudnak. "We have tens of thousands of people every year who are dying from tuberculosis"
Trudnak and his co-workers were confused.
"Our first instinct was to look at each other and ask, 'Tuberculosis? Isn't that cured? How ignorant can you be?
"Well the problem is that you can find this 'bug' through a microscope at a very high level. And if you look hard enough you will only find it 50% of the time."
The solution, the company thought, might be something their technology would be able to handle in short order, but they needed to test their theory.
"They sent us one or two hundred digital photographs of some slides and sure enough, we're looking at it and saying, this is pretty easy, actually," explains a beaming Trudnak. "We hit it one hundred percent of the time, but we later found out that these slides were, in essence, the best of the best images they could have sent us."
In reality, there are so many variations of slides and images that doctors can take which really starts to impede their judgement and make it much more difficult for them to decide whether a patient has tuberculosis or not.
"That development cost us a year in the lab, normalizing the staining and all other information that is thrown into the mix during their processing," explains Trudnak. "Given all of those factors we have the detection down to about ninety five percent specificity, which is pretty good."
Much better than the human eye.
"Much better than anybody," smiles Trudnak. "
TBDx represents a diagnostic transformation towards automated detection of tuberculosis (TB). Further, the Signature Mapping platform can potentially be applied to all laboratory diagnostic procedures (i.e. malaria, leprosy, HIV, etc.).
"That's what they're testing against this week and our hope is that we're going to pass with flying colors and they'll contract with us all across the country," says Trudnak. "It makes a lot of sense."
Even in anticipation of the news, the company has already set their eyes on India.
"That's the jewel from a business standpoint," says Trudnak. "They have every problem under the sun."
The company has already sent an advance team to meet with authorities in that country to start discussions with various medical clinics and doctors.
"That just happened last week," says Trudnak.
In the meantime, investors will be watching closely to see what happens in the coming days. Chances are it may be a banner week for the company.
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