Abhijeet Gholap: A Man on a Mission to Serve Mankind
The pandemic has resulted in rapid growth in the healthcare industry. Today, the industry needs technology-driven leaders who can bring transformation and provide better care to patients. One such leader is Abhijeet Gholap, a serial entrepreneur, who is aiming to build a digital healthcare system with his extensive experience. He has over 15 years of experience in the BioMedical and LifeScience software industry. He started his career with the Imaging Software Group at TCS. After working for a few years, he worked with various biomedical companies in the US, including CedarTech, Siemens Medical Systems, and ByzanTechSolutions.
Abhijeet’s first start-up ‘BioImagene’ was formed in 2002 with a focus on Molecular Diagnostics. The company, being VC backed start-up, raised $1mn in 2003, $3mn in 2004, $6mn in 2005, and $25mn in 2006 before being acquired by Roche Diagnostics for $100mn in 2010. “In 2002, I was invited as an alumni speaker in IIT Mumbai to celebrate 50 years of the institution. I spoke on new technologies of bio-imaging and got noticed by some venture capitalists in the audience. This is how Biolmagne was established. The company made fast progress and was soon acquired by Roche Diagnostics,” says Abhijeet.
Abhijeet Gholap is a biomedical engineer from IIT Mumbai and a management graduate from Stanford University, California. He specializes in Medical Devices and Digital Healthcare. In late 2006, he founded Optra Systems to build a lifescience and healthcare software solutions company. Within 2.5 years, the company grew to a team of 100 engineers, serving customers in the US and Europe. Today, Optra Systems has wholly owned subsidiaries in USA and Holland.
In 2010, while Abhijeet was exploring opportunities to start his next start-up, he came across a few talented film and media professionals who pitched him a story for a feature film. Abhijeet liked the concept and decided to float his own film production house known as Devisha Films. In 2011, his first Marathi film Deool was released in India and became the highest box office success. Bollywood stars including legends Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Nasruddin Shah, and Dileep Prabhavalkar acted in the film. The film portrayed the “commercialization of faith” in India giving rise to many pilgrimage places across India. This film won National Award for BEST FILM, thus flagging regional cinema to seek the highest coveted award in 2012. President of India felicitated Abhijeet Gholap for his remarkable entry into film ventures. His other noted films are Bhartiya and Hou De JrasaUshir. He later produced other movies with a focus to nurture social messages wrapped in humorous/satirical treatment. He continued to win several awards at State and National levels establishing his own mark in this industry.
With his successes in Technology, Science, and Media, Abhijeet went on to form his own venture, Optra Ventures to help multi-shore digital healthcare start-ups in USA and India. The Group consists of two business portfolios OptraScan and OptraHEALTH. OptraSCAN is a new-age digital pathology company that helps to improve patient outcomes with digital pathology solutions at affordable prices. The company’s intelligent solutions equip pathologists with high-performing hardware and software to be more efficient, accurate, and consistent. These scanner ranges are designed to fit every laboratory requirement. They generate high-quality whole slide images of brightfield, cytology, and immunofluorescence samples.
The company believes in providing unparalleled image quality, walk-away technology, multisite collaboration, automated tissue detection, and patented cloud enablement. The solution is easy to install. They have introduced On-Demand Telepath, a cloud-based, comprehensive telepathology solution for image generation, viewing, sharing, multisite collaboration, and quick reporting.
“Over the last decade, the world witnessed the digital transformation of cars, laptops, cell phones, watches, radiology, and other equipment. But the microscope has never changed. The microscope is a subjective device where what is seen and what is diagnosed is a complete black box giving rise to subjective interpretation. To introduce objectivity, scalability, and repeatability in diagnostics, we devised a digital system with AI analytics for oncology, infectious diseases, and inflammatory diseases. We patented our technology, design, and applications,” says Abhijeet Gholap, Founder of OptraVentures.
With chairmen of pathology at Stanford University, University of British Columbia, Yale University, Duke Medical, and the University of California at San Francisco mentoring OptraSCAN and its team, OptraSCAN became the most demanding product globally. OptraSCAN has over 100 installations in the USA, Russia, Germany, the Middle East, India, China, South Korea, and Japan.
OptraHEALTH, on the other hand, is a conversational AI platform that helps engage and educate patients. The company has innovated a technology to convert any medical report, document, diagnosis, or test procedure into a conversational format that helps patients understand the report by using chat/voice interfaces. There are 65 million ontologies that interpret any medical document. After the interpretation, patients can ask questions through text/voice using natural language.
The company has applications for Genetics, Mental health, Cardiology, Pediatrics, and so on. They also maintain a large repository of health experts for live expert connect when its AI platform determines the introduction of a human expert in patient conversations. Leading laboratories and hospitals in USA, Israel, Thailand, and India are some of its early customers.
How Digital Pathology Solution Helps Manage Lab Workflow
OptraScan helps eliminate the barriers to adopting digital pathology. The affordable and easy-to-implement solutions maximize return on investment. The company partner to improve the performance of pathology services.
“Our tool is perfect for transitioning from conventional microscopy to digital pathology for effective acquisition. Our small footprint, low and high throughput scanners are a lightweight and easy fit into small workspaces,” he asserts.
There are multiple advantages of using OptraScan’s digital pathology such as:
- Provides the pathologist community much-needed flexible working model with a minimum upfront investment
- Allows users to focus on their core areas of working without any technological and operational burdens
- Promotes easy scalability & integration within the user’s existing eco-system
- Augments efficient workflows for multi-site collaboration, anytime & anywhere access
- Enables integrated real-time remote connectivity for expert opinions & consultations
- Offers great opportunities for education, research and supervision opine
The Pandemic Times
During the pandemic, there was a huge requirement for test kits at an affordable price. Abhijeet, with his innovative mind, founded “Optra Labs” to produce antigen and antibody test kits that can be used at home for easy diagnosis. OptraLABS kits were validated at NIV and approved by ICMR, India. The labs manufactured over 50 lacs test kits in 2021 that were used in various parts of the country including Maharashtra, UP, Goa, MP, and Gujrat.
In memory of his parents, Abhijeet founded a cancer foundation named “Jiji-Bhau Cancer Foundation” to support patients clinically and financially. The foundation helps anyone who is fighting cancer and seeking financial, clinical, or psychological help. This ranges from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and survivorship.
The Foundation takes responsibility for patients below the age of 18 and with good prognoses. It takes care of therapy, accommodation, and guest house while the therapy is in progress, and helps the patient settle in life.
Awards & Recognitions
Over the years, Abhijeet and the companies he has founded received a number of awards:
2021: Global Excellence Award for Pandemic Innovations
2020: Best Innovation in Digital Pathology award by Economic Times
2017: Top 50 Indian Entrepreneurs in USA by Technology Headlines
2016: Inclusion into Cancer Moonshot program
2015: Entrepreneur of the Month recognition by SiliconIndia
2013: Indian Leadership Award for Industrial Development
2012: President’s Gold Lotus National award
2012: Maharashtra State Entrepreneurship Award
2011: RED Herring Asia Business Award
2010: DELOITTE Fast 50 Business Award
2009: Maharashtra State Government’s R&D (Innovation) Award
2008: Rajiv Gandhi IT Award
2007: Rotary International Vocational Excellence Award
Abhijeet has authored and innovated 21 patents, 87 publications, and several research journals in the field of bio-medical technology. He is a TiE Silicon Valley charter member and medical advisory board member of Frost and Sullivan. He spearheads Digital healthcare initiatives and was convener of TiECon 2022. He is also an advisor to Burhan Maharashtra Marathi (BMM) convention globally.