NEAR-INFRARED FLUORESCENCE: Partnership addresses unmet needs in medical imaging

Aerospace, defense, information, and services company Exelis (NYSE:XLS) and private medical imaging company NIRF Imaging have entered into a long-term, exclusive agreement to deliver a noninvasive, nonradioactive, point-of-care optical medical capability that addresses multiple unmet needs in the global medical imaging market.

The strategic partnership is the result of a multiyear relationship begun when Eva Sevick, Ph.D., principal inventor, founder, and chief technology officer for NIRF Imaging, approached Exelis about utilizing that company's state-of-the-art image intensification technology as a key component in a proprietary medical imaging technology based on near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) and micro-doses of nonradioactive dye. The result, NIRF Technology, provides a first-of-its-kind, point-of-care diagnostic imaging tool for physicians and surgeons to use in support of improved patient care.

Exelis will provide NIRF Imaging with proprietary Pinnacle Gen III image intensifier (I2) tubes, which have historically been used primarily in military-grade night vision goggles, for use as a key component in NIRF Imaging's proprietary medical imaging technology. The ability to provide a "ready-now" technology like Pinnacle was a key factor for NIRF Imaging in selecting Exelis as a partner.

With NIRF Technology development completed and validated in multiple clinical studies, the partners will finalize both the commercial design and manufacturing process for NIRF Imaging's initial product, the NIRF-LI system. NIRF-LI will provide physicians and surgeons with the only dynamic, noninvasive, point-of-care fluorescence imaging system available for imaging the body's lymphatic system, without the risks associated with radioactive imaging agents. Sevick also serves as Professor and Cullen Chair in Molecular Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center's Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM; Houston, TX).

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