Ontario's Synaptive Medical has developed innovative technology that enables surgeons to navigate the brain through clearer, three-dimensional images. The Toronto-based firm is hopeful their ground breaking technology will lead to better patient outcomes.

"I don't know how or why technology in this field progressed so slowly in the past," states Synaptive's President, Cameron Piron. "Some people insist that neurosurgeons are set in their ways. So we decided to bring the technology to them to see with their own eyes," says Piron, addressing a crowd of just over 300 at the MaRS Discovery District. In addition to presenting his firm's revolutionary technology, Piron shares what he has learned from his previous venture in the medtech space with a room filled to capacity with entrepreneurs and medical professionals.

Ontario's innovation ecosystem provides Synaptive with world class talent

In 2010, Piron's first company, Sentinelle Medical was purchased by Hologic for $85 million plus a two-year earn out. Reflecting upon the launch of his first business he says bluntly, "If you start a business with the thought of selling your business, then you are never going to sell your business." Sentinelle Medical developed advanced breast imaging technologies using high-field strength MRI that enable earlier detection and better treatment of breast cancer. "Eventually, you hear of friends of friends and relatives whose lives can be saved or prolonged by your technology. That became our driving force." Piron insists that building his team was the most important factor contributing to his success. "And the more we build this ecosystem [in Ontario]," adds Piron, "the easier it will be to find the right people here. At Synaptive, 90 out of 140 of our employees work in research and development."

Ontario-based businesses are breaking new ground in medical technology

Synaptive Medical is growing rapidly and Piron gives credit to what he learned from his first experience and the support he receives from his peers. "The reason for our exponential growth is that this time we looked at the market needs and found the right product for the right market," says Piron. "Sometimes as a part of a big company you feel like a fast-spinning wheel on a big, slow-moving cog…Large companies need smaller companies to develop technology and prove business models." Later, while presenting what some might deem gruesome photos and video of his company's neurosurgical technology in action, Piron's remarks validate his passion for surgical technology. "Isn't it beautiful?" he says, smiling as sounds of mild objection from the audience are replaced with laughter. "I could watch this all day."

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