Compact Imaging Reaches Agreement on Research Collaboration with Irish Universities

Thursday, 16 February 2012

National University of Ireland Galway, University of Limerick to Provide Biophotonics Expertise, Gain Stake in Emerging Silicon Valley Technology Company

Compact Imaging (CI) today announced an innovative research collaboration with National University of Ireland Galway and University of Limerick.

The two-year agreement, in the scientific field of biophotonics, specifically optical coherence tomography (OCT), will explore and further develop CI’s novel technologies. OCT is an imaging technique similar to ultrasound, but employing light rather than sound.

The project will combine National University of Ireland Galway’s globally-recognised body of OCT research in medical and biological imaging with CI’s development and intellectual property in the area of multiple-reference OCT.  The focus will be on Compact Imaging’s MRO™, multiple-reference OCT, architecture.

CI is an early stage technology company focused on the rapidly expanding market for non-invasive optical imaging, measurement and analysis. The Company’s MRO™ technology makes possible very small (cell phone size), low-cost, robust OCT-based devices for these applications. CI, based in Silicon Valley, holds a portfolio of US patents covering multiple-reference optical coherence tomography (MRO™).

The collaboration makes the extensive scientific research capabilities of National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) and University of Limerick (UL) available to CI. The agreement has been led by and supported by Galway University Foundation and University of Limerick Foundation. The agreement will lead to the University foundations receiving equity in CI. Additional financial details are confidential, for commercial reasons.

NUI Galway’s Professor Martin Leahy will direct the research efforts. Professor Leahy is Chair of Applied Physics at NUI Galway, Scientific Director of the National Biophotonics Imaging Platform Ireland (NBIPI) www.nbipireland.ie and Director of the University’s Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging Laboratory (TOMI) http://tomi.nuigalway.ie.

“Physics has delivered extraordinary advances in almost every facet of modern life,” said Professor Leahy. “From the humble thermometer and stethoscope to X-Ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, PET and radiotherapy, our health has been transformed by these advances. Photonics promises to bring healthcare to the next level, as it is the only means to see cells and molecules in small, accessible, low cost and safe imaging systems.

“Compact Imaging’s multiple-reference OCT technology has the potential to harness all these advantages, delivering solutions to health and security markets with a distinct edge,” added Professor Leahy.

“Our proprietary MRO™ technology has a broad set of biological imaging and measurement applications in fields from medical to security,” said Don Bogue, CEO of CI. “By embarking on this collaboration with Professor Leahy and the laboratories at National University of Ireland Galway, Compact Imaging gains access to outstanding research capability with a group that has the right scientific expertise and research focus to move MRO™ well beyond where our startup-level resources would otherwise allow. We expect that this collaboration will accelerate our development and delivery of small low-cost solutions to a variety of markets,” he said.

The underlying imaging technology, optical coherence tomography (OCT), was first commercialised more than a decade ago for use in ophthalmic and medical diagnostic imaging. CI’s MRO™ is a very different architecture from that used in conventional OCT systems. The architecture enables design of small form factor (cell phone size), low cost devices ideally-suited both to integration with large multi-purpose instruments for office or clinic use and to higher volume mobile or remote applications.

“Leveraging knowledge to support innovation is an important part of the mission of universities. For NUI Galway and UL to partner in this way with an emerging company in Silicon Valley is a very exciting development. NUI Galway is delighted to be part of this collaboration which brings mutual benefit to all partners – academic and commercial,” said Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway.

Speaking about the alliance, UL President, Professor Don Barry said: “This alliance and this pioneering commercial agreement highlight what can be achieved with some innovative thinking from supporters of the University. It demonstrates ways in which commercially astute universities and their foundations can benefit through creative collaborations with industry.”

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Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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