Molecular imaging, a process that makes it possible to detect a tumor as small as two millimeters wide, has so far been out of reach for most U.S. patients, since it is mostly done in clinical trials at prestigious universities. Europe, on the other hand, where molecular imaging is now routine, is “way ahead of us,” Anthony Chang, Rethink Imaging co-founder, told the Grand Rapids Business Journal in a May 2017 interview.
Through Rethink Imaging, Chang and his business partner Tracy Sianta are now working to bring the benefits of molecular imaging to a wider base of U.S. patients in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company will also offer radiation pharmaceuticals and image analysis tools for a comprehensive approach to treatment and diagnosis.
Molecular imaging means more effective treatment — which has the potential to save lives. “Traditionally, when you try to decide if something is working or not, we’ll administer this therapy and tell you to come back in six months, and we’ll see how you’re doing,” Chang told the Grand Rapids Business Journal. “And if it’s not working, you wasted six months of time and six months of drugs. Now, we can actually see how it works after the first treatment because even if the tumor hasn’t started to shrink yet, you can see the molecular changes going on.”
SCORE mentor James Coates helped Chang and Sianta develop their business plan and is helping them identify ways to get in the door with hospital purchasing departments. Sianta, who meets with Coates about once a month, says “My mentor went out of his way to get answers for me and was there for support every time I needed it.”
Together, Chang and Sianta developed a solid business plan and are now in the initial phase of seeking funding. They also were granted accounting services from Rehmann, a firm that donates services to startups through the Pure Michigan program.
“We’re not like your traditional startup, where we say we have this milestone, and once we get that money, we can open the doors,” Chang said. “The starting capital is very, very high, so we have to go in stages before we get all the way there.”