by Heidi Riley
BioTraceIT™ is a company that has developed a platform for detecting and monitoring pain in people and animals.
The company’s hardware device uses skin sensors to detect biosignals related to disease and pain. Software produced by the company gathers, receives, processes, transmits, and displays the data. The use of IT Analytics helps to understand what treatments are most effective and what groups of people or animals will benefit from a particular treatment.
Manufacturing of the devices is done in Ontario, and the research and development and technical support teams are located on PEI. Six people work on PEI now, and they are planning to add more employees on the Island in the near future.
“We are just starting our sales, which means if all goes well we will go from a small start-up to a much bigger company,” says Deborah Dullen, President and CEO of BioTraceIT™.
“We are an internet of medical things company, meaning we are the marriage of medical devices and software,” says Deborah. “Our devices take a signal from the body, and then Bluetooth that signal to the software, which allows us to visualize how an individual is experiencing pain.”
PainTrace® Vet™ can be used by Veterinarians to measure direct pain signals through skin sensors. The device can be used on dogs, cats, horses and cows. A device for people, called PainTrace® is currently approved for research purposes only.
“The system helps us understand where the pain is, measure the severity of the pain, and track the effectiveness of different treatments. Watching pain signals will help evaluate the success of an operation or decide on rehabilitation or a pharmaceutical and help determine when to ease back on treatment. For animals, we are giving a voice to species that cannot communicate directly with us.
“We are also working with pharmaceutical companies looking for alternatives to opioids for pain. PainTrace® allows them to measure the individual’s response to pain, what degree of pain mitigation a particular pharmaceutical provides, the duration of effect, and do a better job of making treatment more efficient and accurate.”
BioTraceIT will launch in October, 2020. To support the launch, more Technical Support positions will be created on PEI. “The ideal candidate could have a Veterinary Technician background and an understanding of what happens in a vet clinic and in the medical community.
“They should be able to accurately and clearly explain to clients the technical applications and processes around software and medical devices. We want to have a great technical team that can answer customer questions quickly and efficiently.
“We also are willing to create entry-level positions for new grads that allow individuals to learn and grow. A recent high school graduate did summer work in data analysis with us before she went off to university.”
Deborah has been in discussions with Vivian Beer from the PEI BioAlliance and with UPEI to create co-op positions for UPEI Computer Science students to gain real-life work experience.
“However, we need to reach the first milestone, which is to get product out the door.”
About the staff
“Our present staff members are very highly technical individuals. Some working in hardware have at least 25 years of experience. Individuals in our Data Science group have about 10 years of experience.”
Job titles within the company
- Senior Director of Product Development
- Senior Data Analytics Scientist
- Senior Hardware Engineer
- Senior Python Developer
- Software and Applications Engineer
- Lead Clinical and Quality Specialist
- Software Engineer
“We have a really great team and I am incredibly proud of them,” says Deborah. “They not only work diligently to deliver a quality product, but they also truly support and care about each other. It means the world to know your team members are there for you.”
Deborah says the employees work with a great deal of independence. “If you cannot self-manage, complete tasks in a timely fashion, and be a mature professional, this might not be the best job for you. We use zoom calls on a regular basis and document timelines like a normal business, but we trust people to do their work. Our job is to put people in the right position for them, give them the resources to be successful, and then we all benefit.
“Depending on the job, some people work from home. Generally, our hardware team needs to be in the office because they work in a lab. The software team has the flexibility to work from home, but they most often choose to come to the office. That is great, because in-person interactions can expedite communication.”
The company makes its own printed circuit boards for its complex devices. “Manufacturing is currently done in Ontario because we don’t have a place on PEI capable of handling the type of manufacturing we do.
“There are quite a few elements that need to be manufactured, and moving forward, we will look to resource the appropriate groups to work with on PEI or establish our own manufacturing.”
“We prefer to create jobs where we live. If you source things locally, it creates jobs locally, and your money stays in the local economy. You cut down on environmental pollution and in the end, you feed the place you live. We made that decision prior to COVID-19.”
How to apply
Open positions are posted at www.peibioalliance.com/job-postings
Those interested in applying to BioTraceIT™ may contact Vivian Beer, PEI BioAlliance, at [email protected]
For more information, email [email protected]