New imaging software that will allow physicians to more accurately diagnose and treat heart failure patients has been licensed by Emory University to Syntermed, an Atlanta-based nuclear medicine imaging and informatics software company. The software uses multiharmonic phase analysis (MHPA), a technology developed by Emory medical scientists Ernest Garcia, PhD, and Ji Chen, PhD.
MHPA is designed to quickly and reliably determine which heart failure patients will benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). CRT is used to improve heart function by restoring the correct mechanical sequence of heart contractions in patients with an irregular heartbeat, called left ventricular dyssynchrony.
Syntermed will market the MHPA-based software as SyncTool ©, which recently has been approved by the FDA. SyncTool is designed to provide significant improvements over the widely used cardiac imaging gold standard -- TDI Echo technology. Advances include additional image clarity, 3-D perfusion images, an automated process that eliminates variations in interpretation, and rapid and objective physician assessment of dyssynchrony in heart failure patients.
SyncTool will be added as a new tool to the Emory Cardiac Toolbox ©, a vast set of software tools for evaluating cardiac images, developed by Garcia and his colleagues at Emory and elsewhere over the past 20 years. The Emory Cardiac Toolbox is used in almost half of the cardiac laboratories in the United States.
"When evaluating heart failure patients to determine the most effective therapy, it is extremely important for cardiologists and radiologists to have access to accurate imaging technology," says Garcia, who is a professor of radiology in Emory University School of Medicine. "We designed this new nuclear imaging software to improve image clarity and to provide additional features and automation that should eliminate variations in interpretation and help physicians more accurately assess patients with left ventricular dyssynchrony."
Garcia and Chen's research with MHPA has been reported in numerous journal publications, beginning with a 2005 article in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. The most recent article, in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, reports the benefits of using MHPA to measure left-ventricular mechanical dyssynchrony in predicting the outcome of CRT.
Garcia and Chen will present the results of their research with the new technology on Monday, June 16, at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in New Orleans. Syntermed also will introduce the SyncTool at the meeting.
The original Emory Cardiac Toolbox was the founding technology of Syntermed, established in 1999 as an Emory spin-off of research, technology and existing licenses to the major medical imaging companies. Garcia is the scientific founder and chief scientific advisor of Syntermed. The company is co-owned in part by Emory and Georgia Tech.
Michael Lee, chairman and CEO of Syntermed says, "Emory and Syntermed's partnership is fueling technology development, business collaborations and a successful startup company. Our success as a company is our ability to quickly facilitate the commercial development of innovated research. Together, we are playing a significant role in fueling economic development for greater Atlanta."
Mary Severson, Chief Technology Officer in Emory's Technology Transfer Office adds, "The licenses Emory has with Syntermed generate substantial revenues that support research and education at the University."
Dr. Garcia is a paid consultant, equity holder, and an inventor of the technology, which means he receives a portion of the royalties received by Emory University. Dr. Chen is an inventor of the technology and receives a portion of the royalties received by Emory. These relationships have been reviewed and approved by the University in compliance with its conflict of interest policies.
Technology Transfer at Emory University
Emory University's technology transfer program has one of the country's most robust product pipelines for guiding technology developed in the laboratory into the marketplace and into the hands of consumers and patients. The program has resulted in 21 licensed medical-related products already in the marketplace and 31 licensed medical-related products in various stages of drug discovery, clinical development or regulatory approval. In addition, 43 companies have been started around Emory's technology, leading to nine publicly traded companies and seven companies selling products on the market.
About Syntermed, Inc.
Syntermed is a leading nuclear medicine imaging and informatics software company. The privately owned Atlanta-based company, established in 1999 as a spin-off of research and technology from Emory University and Georgia Tech, transformed the nuclear imaging field by being the first to offer PET and SPECT software programs untethered from imaging hardware. Syntermed's software solutions are licensed to medical imaging companies including GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips Medical Systems, Hitachi, McKesson, Cardinal Health, MedImage, Mediso, Medx, Segami, and Thinking Systems. The company's products are also sold directly to diagnostic imaging centers and nuclear cardiologists. Its software powers more than 40 percent of the nuclear cardiology labs in the United States. All its software is compatible with any nuclear medicine workstation or personal computer system or PC/MAC that supports the Microsoft® Windows operating system. Syntermed also provides the deployment services used by investigators to commercialize their intellectual property. More information about Syntermed can be found at www.syntermed.com.