Meet the Dublin company that helped Apple to launch the iPad Pro

3D4Medical makes software for the medical industry

The technology behind 3D4Medical’s iPad Pro presentation was two years in the making Photograph: Reuters

The technology behind 3D4Medical’s iPad Pro presentation was two years in the making Photograph: Reuters

 

When Apple was demonstrating its latest iPad, the iPad Pro, it called in some help from developers to show exactly what the tablet could do. One firm to take the stage was 3D4Medical, a Dublin-based company that makes software aimed at the medical industry.

On stage, Irene Walsh was showcasing the firm’s new Complete Anatomy Series, which is a suite of products aimed at medical students, specialists and a clinical solution or healthcare providers. It already has a number of successful products, with 9 million downloads from the App Store.

Originally involved in making stock images using CAD, the recession and the subsequent tightening of the market prompted the firm to look around at other opportunities. That came in the form of the iPhone, the App Store and eventually the iPad.

“We took a punt and created an application that taught people about the bones of the body,” said chief executive John Moore. “That was a big success and a lovely business model. We did a whole suite and that started to really catch on. We decided to take it really seriously and started hiring the best people we could find to develop.”

Two years in the making

The technology behind the presentation that was made on stage at the iPad Pro unveiling was two years in the making, chief executive John Moore said.

“It was very obvious to us to bring it to the next level, which was being able to interact with the model on a different level, being able to cut things, being able to simulate disease states, simulate surgical operations, and really being able to transform the way doctors and patients communicate, because that’s a real problem right now,” he said.

“We had no idea how we were going to deliver this solution. There wasn’t a device that would allow us to do it. When we saw the iPad Pro, we actually thought it was made for us, it had everything we wanted; the power to increase the resolution of those models, but also the Apple Pencil, being able to cut things open, being able to simulate tears, cut bones, ligaments, everything. Being able to do all that on this device makes it absolutely perfect for us.”

The company plans to double its current 40-strong workforce in Dublin, and increase its overseas operations. Mr Moore said 3D4Medical expected to employ 100 people within a year, with offices opening in Poland, Russia and San Francisco in addition to its San Diego sales office headed up by Niall Johnston, vice president of business development.

Leasing technology

The company is examining a couple of different options, including offering its technology bundled with the iPad Pro to clinicians on a lease basis.

It will also tie in with the strategy to reduce readmission rates in the US system.

“The only way to reduce readmission rates is to improve the services that are being delivered and to know the problems you are getting into,” explained Mr Johnston. “Our solution is a pretty comprehensive solution that includes care pathways.”

That solution would allow patients to view their injury diagnosis and recommended care options through a secure portal from the comfort of their own home, allowing them to discuss care options with family before consenting to a particular treatment.

It also means, Mr Johnston pointed out, that medical notes and other consultation documentation is already digitised and can be automatically added to a patients electronic medical record.

This marks another success for the company, which raised $16.8 million in funding from Irish-based life sciences firm Malin in July. The company took a 38 per cent stake in 3D4Medical.

“We never had a backer at all. We didn’t need one,” said Mr Moore. “I think that’s a credit to the Apple eco system as well: how does a small Irish company that has never been heard of, on a shoestring, get in and sell 9 million apps in every corner of the world and have a global presence? Apple gave us a window front to millions of users. We believe if you do a good job you rise to the top and we were promoted because we did a good job.”

The funding will be used to help grow the company, based on the new iPad Pro and the new product.