EDITOR'S COLUMN: Making bio-optics serve its greatest potential

An undercurrent of maximizing discovery—that is, bringing biophotonics to market—was palpable at the Optical Society's (OSA) 2012 Biomedical Optics and 3-D Imaging Congress (April 28–May 2). The theme was evident throughout the plenary sessions, and cumulated in a "rump session" titled Opportunities for Photonics Companies in Healthcare. The lively 2-hour session—organized by the Optoelectronic Industry Development Association (OIDA), which has recently become part of the OSA, and sponsored by Hamamatsu—began with short presentations by seven speakers representing large and small commercial organizations, academe, and government.

Robert Nordstrom of the National Institutes of Health noted that a key ingredient in the breakdown that typically happens in the attempt to transition technology from academia to industry is the fact that the two sides "aren't speaking the same language," focused as they are on completely different priorities. Nordstrom said that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) offers a couple of funding programs designed to address this "malaise" by requiring academe and industry to collaborate in order to receive funding: The Academic-Industrial Partnership program PAR-10-169 and the Network for Translational Research.

Other presenters focused on the growth of optical technologies in certain market sectors and applications. For instance James Brennan of Exponent Engineering discussed optical coherence tomography (OCT) for cardiovascular applications, and said that the technology has overcome challenges related to imaging through blood, and is "really starting to eat the lunch of IVUS"—that is, intravascular ultrasound, the standard bearer for intracoronary imaging. Joe Izatt of Duke University and OCT instrument developer Bioptigen quoted the OCT News report that the technology has reached $1 billion/year, and pointed to big opportunity in imaging the anterior parts of the eye, as well as for intrasurgical guidance. James Mansfield of PerkinElmer sees growth opportunity for optical technologies to aid pathology with quantitative data. Yonji Fu of Becton Dickinson gave examples of personal care product opportunities—and their implementation challenges.

But the session concluded by returning to the friction point between academe and industry-exploring practical matters such as patent strategies. Brennan sounded a positive note by saying that many venture capital (VC) funds are looking for opportunity, but Mansfield added that market intelligence is key, since VCs are comfortable with technology risk, but not market risk.

Clearly, NCI's academia/industry initiatives are a step in the right direction for helping commercialization efforts succeed.

Barbara GoodeBarbara Goode
Editor in Chief

More BioOptics World Current Issue Articles
More BioOptics World Archives Issue Articles

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

Adaptive optics visualizes, characterizes vascular disease early and noninvasively

Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia have demonstrated direct, noninvasive optical imaging of erythrocyte flow in human retinal capillaries, and validated its use as an investiga...

'Pawsitive' light therapy helps your pet beat the winter blues

Perhaps seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a cause of depression typically seen in regions with long winter nights, doesn't just occur in people.

Laser microdissection, sequencing method combine to analyze whole genome

By combining laser microdissection and next-generation sequencing (NGS), researchers at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) Department of General and Molecular Botany have analyzed gene activity in th...

Leica Biosystems set to acquire Aperio

Leica Biosystems has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Aperio, a digital pathology solutions company.

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World