MedLumics clinical OCT initiative garners $4.9M in funding

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology company MedLumics (Madrid, Spain) has launched a three-year initiative to translate the latest OCT research into new clinical applications, thanks to $4.9 million (€3.6 million) in Series A financing from EU joint investors.

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Called the BiopsyPen Project, the initiative is led by MedLumics and the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, with participation from a consortium of European members including VTT Finland (Espoo, Finland), Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, Exalos (Schlieren, Switzerland), the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and Optocap (Livingston, Scotland). Together, the organizations are working to develop a handheld diagnostic imaging system aimed at transforming the capability of biophotonic technologies for point-of-care diagnosis in dermatology. It will address the need for a rapid, noninvasive way to support diagnosis and monitoring of skin cancers without the need for an invasive tissue biopsy.

MedLumics is now developing its own first-generation handheld diagnostic device designed to help dermatologists quickly and minimally invasively diagnose skin cancer, among other pathologies. Expected to launch in the second half of 2014, the device combines epiluminescent microscopy and OCT imagery in a built-in display that integrates with current patient-centered workflows. If approved by regulatory bodies, it will be the first point-of-care OCT imaging device to integrate all optical and electrical components in a compact, microchip-based system that can produce dynamic, real-time, high-resolution diagnostic images with tissue penetration capability of up to 2 mm.

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The BiopsyPen, expected to be fully developed in 2017, will build on the first-generation device with additional clinical workflow advantages for use at the point of care. The consortium will also aim to decrease the device’s size and cost in order to further accelerate market adoption.

Performance improvements will be driven by the use of more advanced technologies, including Doppler OCT, elastography, and polarization-sensitive OCT, which will provide greater image contrast for discrimination of malignant tissues. These OCT technologies will also open the door for additional clinical applications for the platform technology.

Each BiopsyPen Project partner brings unique expertise to the consortium:

  • Medical University of Vienna brings more than 20 years of pioneering expertise in OCT to the consortium. Based in one of the largest University Hospitals in Europe, it will enable the translational research of clinical applications for the BiopsyPen.
  • VTT Finland will have the main responsibility for developing the photonic OCT chips on its SOI waveguide platform.
  • Delft University of Technology will lead the design, fabrication and characterization of the microelectromechanical system (MEMS) actuators and contribute to integration and assembly issues.
  • Exalos will develop and deliver superluminescent light-emitting diodes (SLEDs) with optimized waveguide angles and far field-matched to silicon (Si) waveguides.
  • The Polytechnic University of Madrid will design and develop efficient signal and image processing technologies that will enable the reconstruction and enhancement of 2D and 3D OCT images, assuring the diagnostic quality required at the point of care. They will also collaborate on the system integration with its expertise in system on chip (SoC) image acquisition systems and on the validation of the tools developed.
  • Optocap will determine the required environmental operating conditions of the package and ensure that its design provides suitable environmental protection. The company will also assemble the package with appropriate interconnections and ensure that its design is compatible with standard assembly techniques such as die attach and wire bonding.

MedLumics will be the coordinator of the BiopsyPen consortium and the system integration, and will make key contributions in each phase of the project. For more information, please visit www.biopsypen.eu.

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