Medical Devices

One to watch: Medical device company says eye test can diagnose Alzheimer’s

Cognoptix SAPPHIRE II system

Cognoptix SAPPHIRE II system

Cognoptix, Inc. claims to have created a working, in-office, non-invasive eye-scan that detects Alzheimer’s earlier in patients.

The SAPPHIRE II tracks a beta amyloid (“Ab”) signature in the eyes of potential Alzheimer’s patients. In a 10-subject, proof-of-concept clinical trial, the drug-device picked up a 200 percent differentiation factor between five healthy volunteers and five patients who likely have the disease, according to the company.

Cognoptix President and CEO Paul Hartung said this will streamline the diagnosis process from “the current gold standard, which is a process of elimination,” also speeding up the sometimes two year delay in diagnosis, and letting patients and practitioners move on to treatment.

PET imaging is approved to detect these kinds of plaques in living patients, but a noninvasive, low-cost option is needed, said Dr. Carl Sadowsky, the Medical Director at Premiere Research Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a principal investigator in the SAPPHIRE clinical study.

The marketshare for Alzheimer’s being so large and likely to grow, this device could help drug companies find patients who would most benefit from their products efficiently, as well as help doctors diagnose patients early so preventative measures can be taken.

Inventages Venture Capital and Launchpad Venture Group, an angel investment firm, are among its investors. Cognoptix has exclusive licenses involving SAPPHIRE II with UC-San Diego, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston. The company has raised more than $17 million through seed, Series A, B and C financing.

Hartung was the first CEO to organize a Series A angel deal in the Northeast. He also worked on the management team that helped develop LASIK and saw its company, Summit, through to IPO.

It’s currently in clinical trials and will present clinical data tomorrow morning, July 17, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston.


No comments