PB Jayakumar September 17, 2020
Geetha Manjunath's entrepreneurship career was triggered by an unfortunate event in her family. For 25 years, until 2016, she was heading data analytics research in Xerox India and as Principal Research Scientist at Hewlett Packard Laboratories. She was also a member of the C-DAC team that built India's first commercial supercomputer. A PhD in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Science and management degree holder from Kellogg's School of Management in Chicago, Manjunath was devastated when she lost her 42-year-old cousin to breast cancer in 2016. "I realised that accurate cancer screening with technology at an early stage can save so many lives."
She founded Niramai, which soon developed 'Thermalytix', a computer-aided diagnostic engine powered by Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning for early breast cancer screening. A high-resolution thermal sensing device and a Cloud-hosted analytics solution developed by the 55-member team of Niramai can now accurately analyse thermal images in 10-15 minutes and detect cell malignancy. It can be operated by any clinician.
Unlike mammography, Niramai's method is radiation free, non-touch, and works for women of all ages. A mammography machine costs Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore while the new innovation costs Rs 7 lakh and has cut screening cost by a third. Niramai has taken nine global patents for the innovation that is being evaluated by authorities for launch in Europe and the US. They have screened over 32,000 women so far.
The device has been installed in 30-35 corporate houses and public places. Many orders are in the pipeline. "I had the most cherishing moment of my life when an office-bearer of the Karnataka Cancer Society called up and said 'Geetha, what you have done?', women have queued up here for breast cancer detection, which never happened before'. That was the moment of my life," says Manjunath.