CLEVELAND, Ohio — Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center have licensed medical imaging technology called optical coherence tomography (OCT) to Bioptigen Inc. in Research Triangle Park, N.C., in exchange for an equity stake in the company.
“Fourier domain optical coherence tomography” is a medical imaging technology developed from research at the Case Department of Biomedical Engineering that is similar to ultrasound but uses light rather than sound waves to do its work.
OCT delivers images 100 times finer than standard ultrasound, enabling real-time, non-invasive imaging of tissue in the human body. This technology has applications in drug development, genetics research, tissue engineering and medical vision, according to Bioptigen’s Web site.
Advances in Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (FDOCT) are expected to help the early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, which affects many of the 15 million Americans suffering from diabetes, Case said in a written statement (pdf).
The licensed technology was created by Joseph Izatt, formerly on the biomedical engineering faculty at Case and now part of the biomedical engineering faculty at Duke University, and Andrew Rollins, Warren E. Rupp associate professor of biomedical engineering at Case.
“So they’re taking an exclusive license to five of our technologies that are helping to put them out in the marketplace in the near term, allowing them to expand their markets,” said Michael Haag, director of technology transfer biomedical licensing in the Case technology transfer office. “We’re becoming an equity partner in Bioptigen, increasing the ties and the collaboration.” Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Bioptigen is a spin-out of the Duke University Biomedical Engineering Department. The company was incorporated in North Carolina in 2004 to commercialize technologies originating in the laboratories of Izatt, associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of Duke’s Laboratory for Biophotonics of the Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications Systems since 2001. Izatt worked at Case Biomedical Engineering Department and UH Case Medical Center from 1994 until 2001.
The early validation of the technology was done through a collaboration with UH Case Medical Center. “We are pleased to play a key role in bringing this technology from the research lab to use in patients,” said Phil Cola, vice president of research at the Cleveland medical center, in Bioptigen’s release. “This technology promises to help patients struggling with eye disease.”
In cooperation with Case and Duke, Bioptigen has commercialized ultra-high resolution FDOCT imaging systems that help researchers and clinicians to study, identify, track and treat eye disease, from the cornea to the retina.
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