NDR Medical Technology
NDR Medical Technology is a medical device company specialising in the development of surgical robotics. Driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), their Automated Needle Targeting (ANT) System facilitates highly accurate and precise needle punctures to specific points in the organs - empowering surgical procedures such as biopsy and ablation to be conducted at an earlier stage, effectively expediting the confirmation of cancer and potentially improving clinical outcomes.
How It All Started
NDR Medical Technology was co-founded in 2014 by NTU alumnus Mr Alan Goh (MAE/2005) and Dr Jason Ng.
“In NTU, I was enrolled into Mechatronics after Year 1 and spent a considerable amount of time in the Robotics Research Centre. This, in addition to the curriculum as well as various interactions with the lecturers provided me with exposure to surgical robotics. Prof Louis Phee (currently Dean of College of Engineering) was my tutor during my undergraduate years, and is now an advisor to the NDR team,” Alan recounted.
Alan started his career in A*STAR after graduation. During his time there, he had developed advanced automation devices for the industry, and his co-founder Jason was in the same Engineering team. The duo has since known each other for close to 15 years and worked together on many projects at work and in other industries. After having witnessed a few cycles of economic downturn, Alan realised the need to move into a recession-proof industry with huge opportunities, namely the medical technology industry. Alan always believed that robotic systems would one day have a significant impact on surgical procedures by making it less reliant on individual experience and potentially reducing the risk from human fatigue or judgment. The breakthrough really came about when they were able to incorporate AI with robotic system, as such an integration not only enhances the reliability of diagnosis; it also increases overall surgery confidence.
“Ever wondered what NDR stands for? It stands for Nexus Development Research, as we believe translational work has a greater impact on society and economy. Development should always be of utmost importance and leverage upon research. Our aim is to create a commercially viable product with actual usage,” Alan shared.
In 2015, the duo took 6 months to create a functional prototype and brought it to the doctors, surgeons and clinicians whom they have gotten to know in their jobs prior to NDR. The medical professionals were amazed at the speed of creating the prototype and that they could already proceed to the next stage – clinical trials. Their invention has since expanded into a platform device that can be used on any organ as long as it involves image guidance.
NDR Medical Technology & NTUitive
Alan then shared about how NTUitive had been the first supporter of NDR when others avoided them like the plague, and how being an NTU alumni helped.
“Deep tech requires capital and knowledge, unlike the typical investments venture capitalists would usually make. I usually spent a significant amount of the discussion time on explaining the clinical need and value proposition of our invention, especially if they are not from the medical field,” Alan spoke candidly.
When they pitched their idea to NTUitive, Dr Lim Jui (CEO, NTUitive) – who has a background in anesthesia and surgical intensive care – could easily understand the need for their product. With the Strategic Research Innovation Fund grant awarded to NDR by NTUitive, they could then expand their team which now consists mainly of NTU alumni.
What’s Next for NDR Medical Technology?
Since Day 1, NDR has worked with the vision of going overseas in larger markets like US and China because according to Alan, their competitors are never local.
The NDR team has since completed functional trials as well as ventured overseas to get validation from clinicians and surgeons in US, China, Japan and Europe – this is so that once their product is ready, it will be applicable around the world. The team is looking at getting their product to be commercially viable sometime end of this year or early next year.
Visit ndrmedical.com/beta for more information.