There isn’t much Pedro Gómez doesn’t know about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
After completing his ground-breaking PhD on Accelerated MR Imaging at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2017, he began putting his findings into practice.
Orbem’s first product, Genus, can determine the fertility and sex of hen’s egg embryos automatically, obviating the unethical practice of culling male chicks. He explains: “MR scanning allows you to see inside objects without destroying them. And we can do this with a batch of eggs extremely quickly now – not in an hour but in a few minutes – while the AI component classifies instantly.” The poultry app, which is at an early stage, has been patented by TUM’s Bayerische Patentallianz GmbH (BAYpat) but the technology Orbem is currently prototyping could be widely applied across the food industry. “We could enable 100% quality control sampling without altering the product.”
The Mexican-born biotech scholar who won the 2018 BMWi startup award is no newcomer to commerce: this is his third startup. The first two, launched in his hometown of Monterrey, had social purpose at their root. “The driver for me in a venture is, are we going to make a difference?” he says. “Plus there must be a challenge. If people say, ‘I’m not sure you can do that,’ I just smile.” He puts his success down to “grit.” “As my dad once said, ‘You have to be good, you have to like it, there has to be a market, and it has to transcend.’”