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FujiFilm VisualSonics

Dr. Stuart FosterFujiFilm VisualSonics Inc. is another spinoff company that emerged from innovation at SRI. Dr. Stuart Foster and his lab created the first ultrasound tool that incorporated high-frequency transducers that made tiny physiological details, such as the blood flow feeding a mouse tumour, visible. The demand for this technology was so great that Dr. Foster formed VisualSonics to manufacture microimaging scanners for institutions like Harvard and Stanford universities, the National Institutes of Health and most major drug companies.

In 2010 FujiFilm SonoSite Inc. acquired VisualSonics for $67.9 million. The company noted it intended to shrink the technology for various clinical uses: neonatal care, early detection of skin cancer and skin-graft rejection, and diagnosis of eye diseases, among others.

The company is based in Toronto, with operations in more than 30 countries.

Funding from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (formerly the National Cancer Institute of Canada), Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation are central to the company’s success. Infrastructure funding came from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. Dr. Foster continues to work in the lab and collaborate with other scientists to improve the technology, and to develop new imaging methods including photoacoustics, which combines ultrasound with laser optics.

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