Fermiscan Holdings Limited, a Sydney company that is developing a new method of diagnosing breast cancer by analysing a patient's hair, recently won the Australian Innovation Shoot Out competition as part of the Australia Week – G'day USA promotion of Australia in New York.

Fermiscan beat state finalists from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia in convincing the judging panel that its breast cancer detection technology has what it takes to make it in the US market.

Fermiscan is in the process of commercialising its technology which it says has the potential to provide for accurate and early identification of breast cancer tumours.

The technology is based on the discovery that molecular changes linked with the development of breast cancer can alter the structure of hair, with changes detected using x-ray diffraction beams produced by a device known as a synchrotron.

Breast cancer is the major cause of cancer death in Australian women and each year costs 2,600 lives and accounts for more than 11,700 new cancer cases.
The Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD) has helped Fermiscan with its business development through its membership in the Government-supported Australian Technology Showcase (ATS) program.

DSRD's BioBusiness program has also assisted Fermiscan with feasibility and planning support, and the company was a finalist in the Government’s Biofirst Commercialisation Awards last year.

Fermiscan's innovation competition win will see it receive prizes to support its further business development from Austrade's New York office, the ANZA Technology Network in the US, and public relations company DatelineMedia USA.