Georgia Research Alliance "Technology Partnerships Program" Supports Commercial Collaboration
A comprehensive software package designed to significantly improve the quality and accessibility of nuclear cardiology images has been licensed by Emory University to Syntermed, an Atlanta-based nuclear medicine imaging and informatics software company.
The software, called the Emory Reconstruction Toolbox™ (ERTb™), was developed by Emory medical scientists Ernest Garcia, PhD, and Ji Chen, PhD, and their colleagues through a grant from the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA).
The GRA works with Georgia companies through its Technology Partnerships Program, which provides grants to university researchers conducting collaborative research with a Georgia company that will help the company to develop or refine its products and processes. The company matches the grants dollar-for-dollar.
"A major goal of the Georgia Research Alliance is to help Georgia companies tap into the research resources of our universities. This collaboration is an excellent example of how this can lead to new product and market opportunities," says H. Lee Herron, GRA Vice President of Commercialization.
ERTb performs image reconstruction and synthesis, quality control and correction for patient and physical phenomena to provide high-quality myocardial perfusion SPECT images for cardiovascular diagnosis.
SPECT (single photon emission computerized tomography) is a non-invasive, three-dimensional, functional imaging technology that provides clinical information about biochemical and physiologic processes in patients. This is done by imaging and quantifying the distribution of radionuclides in the body that are used to label molecules, drugs, antibodies, neurotransmitters and other compounds. These tracers are used to detect biochemical and physiologic processes that may signal the early progression of coronary artery disease.
ERTb, which can be used on any standalone PC, is designed to be the image generating "front end" for the widely used 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.
Syntermed will market ERTb as ReconTools, which it will introduce at the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) 2008 annual meeting in Boston, Sept. 10-14. Chen will present research related to new imaging technologies, including ERTb, at the meeting on Saturday, Sept. 13.
"SPECT studies are a critical part of diagnosis and prognosis of coronary artery disease," says Garcia, who is a professor of radiology at Emory University School of Medicine. "As software imaging technologies continue to improve, diagnosis becomes increasingly detailed and accurate. Among other things, the ERTb software was developed to automate the detection and correction of patient motion, reconstruct and synthesize images and correct subtle physical changes that can degrade accuracy in SPECT imaging."
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. Today the Toolbox has five other tools to support 3-D cardiac imaging of heart perfusion, including the recent FDA cleared SyncTool™, which is designed to more accurately select heart failure patients who would benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).
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, “Syntermed started in the simplest way possible, with the objective to commercialize technology that promotes innovation and creativity. Today, ours’ is a success story founded on a strong portfolio of int ellectual property licensed from Emory that continues to thrive. We were proud to be the industry partner in the GRA Technology Partnerships Program, which recognizes our ability to launch these innovations into a highly competitive and complex market.”
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 privately owned Atlanta-based nuclear medicine imaging and informatics software company that has transformed the nuclear imaging field by being the first to offer PET and SPECT software programs untethered from imaging hardware. Its software powers more than 40 percent of the nuclear cardiology labs in the US; is licensed to medical imaging companies including GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical Solutions, Philips Medical Systems, McKesson Information Solutions, and Cardinal Health; and is compatible with any nuclear medicine workstation or PC/MAC that supports the Microsoft® Windows® operating system. More information can be found at www.syntermed.com.
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.