Lists & Rankings

Verisante Technology advancing skin cancer detection

Q&A with Thomas Braun, CEO and founder of Verisante Technology Inc.

Thomas Braun, CEO and founder
Verisante Technology Inc.
Ticker: VRS
Ranking: #1 in Technology and Life Sciences
Market Capitalization, Dec. 31, 2011: $34.5 million

Tell us a bit about your business.
We have a new skin cancer detection technology that will be a game changer. It was developed over 10 years by the B.C. Cancer Agency — they work in conjunction with the University of British Columbia. Doctors often have high-risk patients who have 50 moles on their back and don’t know where to start. Our device tells you in one second whether or not to do a biopsy on a suspicious lesion. We have been approved by Heath Canada, which also gets us approval in Mexico and Brazil, and in Europe where approval is for 27 countries and in Australia.


When did you start the company and do you have revenues yet?
I founded the company in 2006. We’re still pre-revenue, but we’ll be going into production in the second half of 2012. Right now we’re making the first 10 units — they should be ready by April. Those 10 units will go to field-testing with members of our medical advisory board. Then, in late Q3 and all of Q4, we’ll be producing units. 

Do you have any revenue targets for 2012?
Yes. We want to sell 100 devices this year. It’s a lofty goal because we’re charging $60,000 for each one. There’s also recurring revenue from the sale of a $10 disposable tip and there’s a cost for servicing the machines when the warranty runs out. The service plan is about $6,000 a year. It shouldn’t cost the practitioner that much — the purchase can be amortized over 5 years which is about $1,100 a month with interest. Right now, skin cancer screening is not covered, so if people charged $225 a screening — in Germany, health insurance does pay about 150 Euros for screening — the first four or five patients would pay for the lease.

Why should investors look at your company?
Just look at the statistics. In Canada, your lifetime chance of getting skin cancer is one and six. There are over a million people who have already been diagnosed with skin cancer and they get screened once every 12 months. In the U.S. they diagnose 2 million skin cancers a year and have tens of millions of biopsies. So you have a new technology that can save lives and money, because you can detect the cancers earlier than you can now. Investors see the opportunity and the three streams of revenue and that’s why they like it.

When did you list on the venture exchange and why?
December 2009. I promised my seed shareholders that we’d do it. We had raised money from friends, family and private placement from accredited investors, but eventually you exhaust that.