PHILADELPHIA--(August 18, 2010) – Patients with diabetes-associated wounds could receive faster and more effective treatment thanks to a non-invasive device that monitors wound healing and is one step closer to market. Emunamedica LLC, a Florida-based healthcare start-up, has licensed technology for a near-infrared wound monitor from Drexel University. The device was developed by Dr. Elisabeth Papazoglou and Dr. Leonid Zubkov of Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems in collaboration with Dr. Michael S. Weingarten, M.D. of Drexel College of Medicine and their teams. The device received joint support from the University City Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program and from the Wallace H. Coulter Translational Research Program at Drexel University. It is the first technology supported by QED Program funding to be licensed.
Papazoglou’s project was selected to receive a $200,000 award through the Science Center’s QED Program in its inaugural cycle in the fall of 2009. The QED Program is the first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program for life sciences technologies. It bridges the “valley of death” – the gap between academic research and commercial development by providing scientists with guidance from experienced regional entrepreneurs, feedback from regional investors, and funding to demonstrate proof of concept. Since its launch in April 2009, the QED Program has screened more than 130 proposals, provided advisory services to 20 projects, and made six awards to scientists at Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It is expected to make awards to three more technologies later this year.
“One of the primary goals of the QED Program is to help reduce business and R&D risks associated with promising early- stage university technologies, making them more attractive investments for the private sector,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., president & CEO of the Science Center. “Dr. Papazoglou and her team at Drexel have proven the concept upon which the QED Program is premised.”
There are currently no accepted methods for monitoring the response to treatment of chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, beyond simply measuring the size of the wound. Surface wound area is a poor indicator of the health of underlying damaged tissues. Many diabetic people and other chronic wound sufferers lose their limbs to amputation because of the lack of current methods to rationally assess whether treatments are working. Papazoglou and her team have developed a breakthrough device that uses near-infrared (NIR) light to measure the blood supply within and under a wound, indicating its health and rate of healing. The device is portable and can take measurements in a matter of seconds by simply passing the scanner over the wound surface, making it ideal for rapid patient assessment in a busy clinical setting. It is expected to improve the ability to identify non-healing wounds at least 50 percent earlier than current methods, allowing physicians to tailor their treatments and save more limbs from amputation.
Emunamedica was attracted to the technology for both for its non-invasive nature -- and more importantly its unique ability to address the large and growing opportunity for providing fast and accurate wound healing diagnostics, according to CEO David Kolb. Emunamedica expects to launch its initial product commercially in the United States by the first half of 2012 bringing wound diagnostics to clinicians and the estimated 6 million-plus patients in the US that suffer from lower extremity ulcers.
“Our goal is to provide wound care diagnostic support for clinicians, to generate better outcomes for patients, in a cost- effective manner for insurance companies and Medicare. There is a plethora of wound therapies available driving spending into the billions per year, and yet there are very few diagnostics to support clinicians in their decision making and to provide justification for payers,” Kolb says.
“The Wound NIR Monitor is a product of a team effort at Drexel University based on several years of improvements and innovation of fNIR technology combined with deep understanding of the wound healing process,” says Papazoglou. “I am really excited that the technology attracted such a great partner as Emunamedica, and I look forward to its routine use in the clinic. Our team is grateful for the support provided throughout the development of this technology by the PA Tobacco Funds Program, Drexel’s Coulter Program and the QED Program at the Science Center, all of which enabled us to progress from a concept to clinical data.”
“The development of the wound NIR monitor is a result of years of team work between the Drexel University College of Medicine’s Department of Surgery and the Drexel University School of Biomedical Engineering,” says Weingarten. “This unique collaboration between Drexel’s College of Medicine and the School of Biomedical Engineering has resulted in a number of translational research initiatives.”
About The Science Center The University City Science Center accelerates technology commercialization, regional economic development, and the market availability of life-enhancing scientific breakthroughs by bringing together innovations, scientists, entrepreneurs, funding, laboratory facilities, and business services. Established in 1963 and headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, the Science Center was the first, and remains the largest, urban research park in the United States. It provides services that range from incubator space with fully-equipped laboratories and “plug ‘n play” offices for entrepreneurs to path-breaking programs designed to demonstrate, nurture, and sustain new technology businesses and bring their benefits to the region and the world. Graduate organizations and current residents of the University City Science Center’s Port business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. For more information about the Science Center, go to www.sciencecenter.org.
About Drexel University Founded in 1891, Drexel is the nation’s 14th largest private university and is ranked as one of the nation’s most innovative universities by US News & World Report. Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co- operative education program, technology and use-inspired research. For more information about Drexel, go to www.drexel.edu.
About Emunamedica LLC Emunamedica LLC is a non-invasive wound diagnostic company focused on driving better patient outcomes by providing quantitative data to clinicians worldwide. The Florida-based company was founded in 2010 by senior life science professionals and has one program in clinical development and others at various stages of development. For more information about Emunamedica LLC please visit www.emunamedica.com or contact Michael T. Cornelius, CFO at (954) 832-3600 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.