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Genesis of Echosens

11.12.2017

 

The Echosens adventure started after the PhD thesis of Laurent Sandrin on pulse elastography under the supervision of Pr. Mathias FINK. Together with talented electronic engineer Jean-Michel Hasquenoph they developed this disruptive technique at the Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique, in the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI Paris Tech). Their research led notably to the development of the Vibration Controlled Transient Elastography (VCTE) method.

 

Echosens was founded in June 2001 after the intention of converting this laboratory method into a product. A meeting with several physicians from the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris (IMM) encouraged the founders to try to adapt the technology to chronic liver.

 

After 9 months of intense development, a first prototype is ready: the technology behind FibroScan was born.

 

 

Interview - Laurent Sandrin (PhD) – Co-founder of Echosens and Co-inventor of FibroScan®

 

 Laurent Sandrin Echosens

 

"The Echosens™ adventure started in 2001 after I completed my doctoral thesis on transient elastography, under the supervision of Professor Mathias Fink. At the time, we didn't know how we could actually use this technology which was still in its infancy.

 

Our unsuccessful trials with milk products and meat led us to rule out the food processing industry. Once we took the technology beyond the confines of the lab, it became obvious that medicine was the way forward.

 

 It was Robert Palau and Brice Gayet, radiologist and surgeon, respectively, at the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, who pointed us in the direction of using our technology for liver disease. Operating from the basement of ESPCI, we carried out the first trials over a period of about 9 months. We perfected the technology, developed the electronics systems and designed and refined the complex algorithms which were to lead us to obtain promising results in about 70 patients with hepatitis C. These results were later confirmed and improved upon in the multicentre clinical trial coordinated by Professor Michel Beaugrand.

 

Over a period of 2 years, we then developed the first ever non-invasive quantitative elastographic device together with a new standardised examination procedure that is currently in widespread use in both clinical practice and research."

 

Products and pilot studies

 

Once the food-processing industry had been ruled out, market studies clearly identified the breast and prostate as the most promising areas for commercial development of the new technology.

 

However, the clinical benefits were considered to be too uncertain as several other reliable, high-performance methods were already in use in radiology. The decision was then taken to focus on the liver and to apply the new technology to patients with chronic liver disease with the aim of assessing liver fibrosis.

 

The first pilot study (1) was conducted in patients with liver disease and lasted about 9 months, between 2001 and 2002. Intensive R&D work resulted in the development of the first patent-protected machine which yielded promising results. FibroScan was born. The multicentre trial that followed confirmed the earlier results in a larger population and above all, involved several centres and different operators.

 

The Group also offers a suite of data management software and solutions under the brand name “FibroView. FibroView is a family of computer-based data management software and connection solutions, which is sold along with FibroScan to optimize the physicians’ diagnosis process. It includes FibroView Report, which provides enhanced reports for FibroScan exams, and FibroView Data Solution, which is a spectrum of smart connectivity solutions connecting FibroScan devices together with the Hospital Information System. FibroView Report has been provided for free since 2015 to raise market interest, while FibroView Data Solutions has been launched in early 2016 and is offered as a chargeable option to all existing or new FibroScan customers. FibroView represents the first step of the Company’s initiative towards data management, cloud-based services and computer-aided diagnosis tools.

 

In 2010, Echosens proceeded to the acquisition of FibroMeter:

 

With his team of the hepato-gastroenterology department of the CHU of Angers and the HIFIH laboratory, UPRES EA 3859, Institut Fédératif de Recherche 132, University of Angers, Prof Paul Calès developed the first fibrosis test Hepatitis in 1997 and then commercialized second-generation tests in 2006, the FibroMeter, for the diagnosis and measurement of fibrosis in liver diseases (viral, alcoholic and metabolic causes).


Numerous high-level publications validate the performance of FibroMeter, which are currently the most effective tests for the diagnosis of fibrosis and the only test measuring fibrosis.

 

 

Echosens™ based itself on its expertise and know-how in the field of hepatology for humans since 2001 to enlarge its offer and develop products dedicated to animals. In 2015, Echosens™ launches the FibroVet™ Screening, the first product is dedicated to dogs.

 

 

 Echosens Progress story ENG 082016