Yuhang Capital Interview vf
Make Women a Beautiful Future
An Interview with
Tang Ying, Co-Founder and Director Business Development
Mark Chennells, Co-Founder and CFO, Cyrcadia Asia Ltd
By Angela Jia, Vice Director of Marketing, Yuhang Capital
1. Angela Jia: Hi Ying and Mark, first, I would like to congratulate for your winning of the 2nd Prize in 2020 Global Bio-Economy Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition! As far as I know this competition is very challenging, could you tell us more about Cyrcadia Asia Ltd and also your experience about taking part in this competition? Why did Cyrcadia Asia Ltd take part in this competition?
We really enjoyed participating in the Global Bio-Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition and were extremely impressed by both the organization of the competition and the standard of the companies who participated. It was inspiring to see the creativity and passion different competitors brought to solving important healthcare problems.
We joined the competition primarily to get greater exposure for our technology and mission to allow women to effortlessly and comfortably monitor their breast health any-time, anywhere, saving lives and giving peace of mind.
We were also attracted by the opportunity to incorporate Cyrcadia China in Hangzhou with strong government support. Hangzhou is the epi-centre of AI in China, with a deep pool of talent from which we can build our Corelab AI team.
2. Angela Jia: As I watched your program to be competed from the very first to the Grand Final in this competition, personally I am really very interested in your program. I wish your product could really help women in the future as I know breast cancer is very normal globally. It is also the highest incidence cancer for women in China. Could you give us more details about your product and technology, like, how this product come to birth? What will it bring to women and change their life?
Cyrcadia has developed a wearable technology which addresses a real and growing need for a better breast cancer screening solution, the most common and fastest growing cancer among women.
It is an accurate, intelligent, monthly self-exam which uses AI not imaging (ultra-sound and mammography) to detect breast cancer earlier in all tissue types. It is truly a breakthrough technology and the first of its kind. There is currently no wearable, accurate device for detection of breast cancer
Our product is worn by a woman for 6 hours once a month during her everyday activity. The data is recorded and sent to our CoreLab which uses AI to detect disruptions to cellular circadian metabolic patterns caused by the invasion of cancer cells into breast tissue. The result of the scan (clear or abnormal) is sent back to the woman's smart phone APP within seconds of the completion of the scan.
3. Angela Jia: And in your opinion what is the future of this product? What is your key technology and how it works?
When cancer cells invade breast tissue they disrupt the expression of the PER1, PER2 and Clock genes which regulate the circadian metabolic cycle in the breast. Cyrcadia uses AI to detect these disruptions to the normal circadian rhythm. The science establishing the relationship between cancer and changes to the circadian clock has been well proven with a large number of peer reviewed papers published in a number of medical journals.
Over 40% of women worldwide and 70% of women in Asia have dense breast tissue. Our technology is agnostic to breast density. Imaging technologies such as mammography and ultra-sound are challenged by density. Their accuracy rates for women with dense breast tissue is less than 50%. The cancer cannot be easily detected against a dense background… it is like trying to identify a snow-flake in a snow-storm.. This results in a number of biopsies on healthy breasts so Doctors can confirm whether a lesion is cancerous or not. In March 2019 the US FDA issued new policy requiring doctors to notify their patients with dense breasts that mammography was not an accurate scanning method.
4. Angela Jia: How reliable is your product compared with normal image diagnosis? Any data to support this?
We have undertaken clinical trials on over 400 patients including 236 patients at Ohio State University Medical School and El Camino Cancer Hospital (Mountainview CA) in the US and 170 ethnic Chinese patients in Hong Kong and China. Our trials are blind with the results compared to biopsy.
Our machine learning algorithms have achieved average accuracy, sensitivity and specificity approximately 80% for all tissue types. This compares favorably with mammography and ultrasound which have accuracy rates of approximately 80% for normal breast tissue reducing to less than 50% for dense breast tissue.
Our accuracy rates for Chinese patients will rise to over 85% as we increase the number of patients in our database through clinical trials. We are targeting accuracy rates of over 85% with a wear time of 6 hours when we have our commercial launch in Q1 2022.
5. Angela Jia: Thanks for your introduction about your technology and product. Are you afraid of any competitors in future? If there are copycats with lower prices in the market, what will you do?
We plan to use our first mover advantage to build a moat around our business by developing product awareness and trust among healthcare professionals who are the first touch-point for women concerned with their breast health. We will also continue to conduct clinical trials to build a unique breast cancer circadian database and continually improve accuracy rates and reduce wear times.
Breast cancer is a critical disease and women are unlikely to purchase low cost copycat products which do not have a trusted brand among healthcare professionals.
In the meantime it is our mission to make our wearable affordable for all women. To achieve this we plan to license our technology to major intimate apparel brands and charge a US$1.00 per month subscription for users. With the economies of scale from large user numbers it is unlikely that copycats will be able to compete on either price or performance.
We also have an ambitious product development program, working with world-class medical device and intimate apparel manufacturers to integrate our technology into a normal washable bra.
6. Angela Jia: what is the clinic trail phase for this product now? When can we meet this product in market? Have you already gotten any approval from the government, inside or outside China?
We will launch in China Q4 2021/Q1 2022 followed by the rest of Asia and Europe in Q2 and Q3 of 2022. We are planning further clinical trials to increase the database by 1000 patients by December 2021. We are confident of achieving accuracy/sensitivity/specificity of 85% to 90% for product launch
Cyrcadia has FDA Class 2 510K product registration, which allows us to launch in most countries in Asia without further regulatory review (China and Japan being the major exceptions).
7. As a start-up, what are the key and close partners for you?
Developing strong partnerships with companies for product development and our go to market strategy is a critical part of Cyrcadia’s business strategy. In particular we have been working with Jabil, one of the largest medical device manufacturers in the world, for three years to develop our first generation wearable.
We are also partnering with Regina Miracle a HKSE listed intimate apparel manufacturer to integrate our patches into a bra. Regina Miracle has developed world-leading bra manufacturing technologies and supplies more the 50% of the bras to a number of major brands including Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, M&S and Victoria’s Secret.
We are partnering with iFlytek to develop a natural language chatbot which will be integrated into our smart phone app. This will enable Cyrcadia to have deeper and more meaningful interactions with its users, encouraging them to use our wearable each month and gaining valuable feedback on user experience
Cyrcadia is partnering with AstraZeneca for our product launch into the Chinese healthcare sector. AstraZeneca has invited Cyrcadia to join its Integrated Women’s Oncology Center program which is rolling-out a total oncology solutions program in over 300 major hospitals in China. Cyrcadia will also leverage AstraZeneca’s new digital health platform in China to engage directly with doctors and healthcare professionals.
8. Angela Jia: I know you are raising money now, lots of our readers are professional investors, so what is the strategic plan for Cyrcadia Asia in the following 3 to 5 years, like your plans for R&D, marketing, and funding?
Cyrcadia’s medium term strategy is to become a pure biotech company with 100% of revenues generated from user subscriptions and licensing agreements with major brands. The first phase of our go to market strategy is to sell our product through healthcare institutions recommended by professionals as the healthcare sector is the first touchpoint for women concerned about their breast health. Once we have established Cyrcadia as a trusted brand among healthcare professionals we will begin selling directly to women via the various commerce platforms before finally transitioning from selling our product to licensing our technology.
Our R&D program over the next 3 years will focus on developing a washable bra which is affordable to all women while continually increasing accuracy rates and reducing wear times
Cyrcadia then plans to leverage its “ownership” of a woman’s torso to build a broader female healthcare platform by adding/licensing other healthcare monitoring technologies including the ability to monitor hormonal balance, HRT and related stress indicators
We are also developing a clinical device which can locate the tumor. The product can be used by local community clinics and hospitals in low income countries.
Cyrcadia China plans to raise Rmb 30M in H2 2021 to fund the Company to launch in Q1 2022. We then plan to raise Rmb 100M to fund Cyrcadia’s the first 12 months of operations post-launch including its on-going R &D program and go to market strategy.
9. Angela Jia: Okay, thank you for answering my questions. Do you have anything about Cyrcadia Asia that you want to introduce to our readers?
All our founders, male and female, have experienced the fear of breast cancer, personally or in their families. We want to offer women the ability to monitor their own breast health accurately and effortlessly. The existing scanning technologies (mammography and ultra-sound) which are over 50 years old are seriously challenged by breast density and require a visit to a clinic. An on-line survey commissioned by Cyrcadia of 1000 women in Hong Kong aged over 35+ found more than 60% of the participants were very interested in purchasing our wearable. A major survey of American women also confirm a strong willingness to purchase Cyrcadia’s wearable.
Thank you so much for this interview, hope we could meet this new product in market the soonest!