Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Business

New medical startup Inspirata sets up shop in Tampa, will hire 70

TAMPA — Satish Sanan used to be big into horse racing. But the Clearwater entrepreneur said he sold his horses and is devoting himself to his new medical startup, Inspirata Inc.

The company hopes to revolutionize digital pathology by creating digital slides of the cancer cells taken from patients.

"This will be my legacy," Sanan said.

Inspirata wants to create digital images that will make it easier for doctors to diagnosis patients, share information with other physicians, build a cancer database and create a "predictive algorithm" to forecast how future cancers will develop.

The company announced Monday that it will call Tampa home and add 70 jobs to its operation with an average salary of about $86,000. The company already employs about 30.

Sanan has plenty of experience with technology startups. Three decades ago, he started Information Management Resources in a 900-square-foot office on U.S. 19 in Clearwater.

It grew into IMRGlobal, which specialized in outsourcing software development overseas. The company had 42 offices in seven countries when it was sold in 2001 for $438 million.

Inspirata is not starting out as humbly as IMRGlobal. It leased 10,000 square feet of office space at the Tampa Commons office tower at 1 N Dale Mabry Highway and said it plans to invest $25 million in research and development.

The company was first conceived when Sanan heard scientist Mark Lloyd, formerly of Moffitt Cancer Center's Analytic Microscopy Core laboratory, give a presentation about digital pathology at the 2013 MediFuture conference in Tampa.

Lloyd said the new technology will make the sharing of medical data much faster — certainly faster than mailing patients' slides back and forth between doctors and laboratories.

"Just like you used to have light boxes for X-rays, those are all gone now," Lloyd said. "There's a movement in pathology to go from analog to digital."

The 2013 conference that brought Sanan and Lloyd together was organized by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., which also helped Inspirata obtain $700,000 in public incentives to fuel its growth.

Last year the Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council both voted to approve an incentive package worth $140,000. The state is providing $560,000 more. Those funds came with a visit from Gov. Rick Scott to Monday's announcement, where he touted the 70 new jobs.

Scott bragged that Inspirata had lured its lead scientist, James Monaco, away from the University of Texas. Florida's governor has made a point of trying to lure jobs away from other states. Scott said he had even called Texas Gov. Rick Perry about this new hire.

"It's nice to see someone move here from Texas because there's a job here," Scott said. "I called Gov. Perry this afternoon and let him know another person moved here."

Altogether, Inspirata will get $10,000 in public incentives for each of the 70 new jobs the company said it will create.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Jamal Thalji at [email protected] or (813) 226-3404. Follow @jthalji.

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