T he team at Mirada Medical is starting the New Year with ambitious plans for expansion. The Oxford-based developer of innovative software products that help doctors use medical images to diagnose and treat cancer is aiming to build on strong performance which saw the firm grow significantly in the UK and establish an office in the United States.

Mirada creates high value clinical software applications used in prestigious cancer centres and hospitals worldwide, across diagnostic radiology, molecular imaging, radiation oncology and medical oncology.

The firm has 25 staff, mainly imaging scientists and software engineers focused on product development based at the Oxford Centre for Innovation in Oxford, with a further 12 based in the US.

Chief executive Hugh Bettesworth, a former pupil of Woodgreen School, Witney, said: “We specialise in combining complex information from different medical images allowing clinicians to more confidently diagnose disease, assess a patient’s response to treatment and plan radiation therapy or surgical intervention.”

The company was founded in 2008 but has a longer history. A predecessor firm, Mirada Solutions, was set up as a spin-out from Oxford University and acquired by US scanner manufacturer CTI who in turn were acquired by Siemens Healthcare.

Mr Bettesworth led a management buy-out from Siemens, acquiring the technologies and customer base which lay at the core of Mirada’s earlier developments.

He said: “In our specialised software markets, we are expected to respond to changing demands in days or weeks and as a smaller agile company we have the flexibility to do that.”

Since then, part of Mirada’s success in gaining market share has been driven by its strategy of partnering with healthcare giants such as Varian Medical Systems, a world leading manufacturer of software for radiation therapy and Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, a global leader in diagnostic medical imaging systems.

The company’s technology is now incorporated into Varian’s radiation treatment planning systems and is being rolled out to hospitals worldwide helping provide radiation therapy to thousands of cancer patients.

According to Cancer Research UK, radiation therapy is used to treat around four out of ten cancer patients in the UK while the US National Cancer Institute estimates that 60 per cent of all cancer sufferers in the US receive the treatment.

“Our software enables hospitals to better incorporate Magnetic Resonance (MR) images into the radiation therapy process.

Tumours in soft tissue such as the brain or liver show up better on MRI scans compared with other imaging techniques such as CT scans, so clinicians can make more informed decisions about treatment options,” Mr Bettesworth explained .

Mirada has also partnered with Vital Images, a Toshiba group company, so that all of its radiology customers can access Mirada’s technology for analysing cancer scans acquired using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanners.

Mr Bettesworth said: “As a result of these and similar agreements Mirada’s market share has grown exponentially, and I believe the next two years will see thousands of additional hospitals worldwide using our state of the art technology.”

The other complementary element in the company’s expansion plans is to establish the Mirada brand in its own right as a high-end developer of advanced medical imaging software.

This strategy is already generating good returns through ever-increasing direct sales to some of the world’s most prestigious hospitals, including MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland; Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital in New York and New York University Hospital.

The success with some of the USA’s most renowned hospitals has helped to drive sales so that more than 70 per cent of Mirada’s revenue is currently generated from the USA.

Last summer, Mirada opened a US headquarters in Denver, Colorado as a home for its subsidiary, Mirada Medical USA Inc, and an office from which to support its expanding US customer base.

Mirada is now focusing on growing its UK client list in both cancer diagnostics and radiation therapy.

Mr Bettesworth was particularly pleased when the company secured the internationally renowned Oxford Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital as a new customer.

Fergus Gleeson, consultant radiologist at the Oxford Cancer Centre, said: “Over the past 12 months we have been making increasing use ofMirada’s technology to assist us in delivering patient care.

“We are particularly encouraged to know that world class healthcare technologies like Mirada’s are being developed right here in Oxford.”

Everything points to 2013 being a successful year for Mirada and Mr Bettesworth confirmed there are also plans to extend the company’s footprint in Asia.

He said: “We have made initial sales into a number of hospitals in Korea and Japan, are signing up distributors and also working closely with healthcare providers in Singapore where we hope to locate our next global base, possibly as soon as later this year,” he said. This page is co-ordinated by Oxford Innovation www.oxin.co.uk