CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--NinePoint Medical, Inc., an emerging leader in the development of in vivo pathology medical devices, today announced it has entered into an intellectual property (IP) licensing agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Under the agreement, NinePoint has certain exclusive rights in multiple fields to 188 patents and patent applications owned by MGH. This is the largest IP agreement for medical device technology in the hospital’s history as well as one of the largest IP agreements overall for MGH. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. The patents and patent applications will support NinePoint’s high resolution optical imaging platform, which is based on a next-generation optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology. NinePoint is currently developing a suite of optical imaging devices based upon its innovative platform for use initially in the gastrointestinal tract.
“Exclusive access to MGH’s broad and deep portfolio of imaging patents is a significant milestone for NinePoint and we are honored that MGH has chosen to partner with us on the development of this important technology”
NinePoint’s new suite of products is initially being developed to enable gastroenterologists and offsite pathologists to review advanced tissue images during biopsies and other therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, in real time. This capability would potentially provide physicians with immediately actionable information and eventually, the ability to treat questionable cells at the time of diagnosis. By streamlining the timeline and the steps required to go from diagnosis to treatment, NinePoint believes it can significantly improve patient experiences and outcomes, improve the efficiency of care and provide important savings to the healthcare system. Over time, the company believes that the technology will have broad applicability across a number of diagnostic and therapeutic categories.
“High quality images provided by optical frequency domain imaging – or OFDI – may one day enable physicians to implement routine, less invasive screening procedures for high-risk patients,” said Gary Tearney, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher in Pathology and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-developer of the technology. “The ability to perform accurate diagnoses for conditions like Barrett’s esophagus could also provide significant improvements over random biopsies that are currently the standard of care for patients at risk for developing esophageal cancer.”
OFDI is a form of frequency domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT). Based upon exclusive access to this technology in its licensed fields, NinePoint Medical believes it has the opportunity to create a family of innovative medical devices that can dramatically improve patient care
NinePoint’s product development strategy is currently focused on novel devices that can significantly improve the access, diagnosis and treatment standards for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus, conditions that affect more than 19 million Americans annually and that are often precursors to dysplasia and esophageal cancer, as well as many other diseases and conditions. While NinePoint is initially focused on the GI tract, its technology and expertise will allow the company to expand into other indications in the future. NinePoint’s initial product introductions will focus on devices that can quickly deliver volumetric, clinically actionable images, and improve upon existing technology that is only able to image a small field of view, requires intravenous contrast and that has long acquisition times. Initially, NinePoint intends to develop proprietary devices that will allow physicians to image the entire distal esophagus, identify and mark abnormal sites in the mucosa and submucosa and perform guided endoscopic biopsies by routine methods during the normal upper endoscopy. This new treatment paradigm could become a more effective replacement for the existing standard of care that requires random biopsies of esophageal mucosa in areas that appear normal when Barrett’s esophagus is suspected. Over time, the technology is expected to enable the pathologist to view the tissue in-vivo, provide a real-time diagnosis and allow the gastroenterologist to perform treatment during the same endoscopy visit. NinePoint will work closely with MGH to advance the development of the technology and the company plans to introduce the first device prototypes for use in clinical trials in 2011.
“Previous generations of OCT technology produced precise, but small images with long image acquisition times that rendered them unfeasible for clinical use. For the first time, technology exists that can open the door to utilizing real-time images for immediate diagnosis and treatment,” said Brett E. Bouma, Ph.D., of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-developer of the OFDI platform.
“Exclusive access to MGH’s broad and deep portfolio of imaging patents is a significant milestone for NinePoint and we are honored that MGH has chosen to partner with us on the development of this important technology,” said Charles Carignan, M.D., president and chief executive officer of NinePoint Medical. “We believe our technology development roadmap will support the commercialization of novel medical devices that can significantly streamline the time and cost required to access, diagnose and facilitate treatment of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. We are excited to be a pioneer in this convergence that we believe will positively impact patient care. While we are currently focused on the GI tract, we believe that our high resolution optical imaging platform may have broad applicability in other therapeutic areas, which we intend to explore in the future.”
About Frequency Domain Optical Coherence Tomography
Optical coherence tomography was initially created by James G. Fujimoto, David Huang, and Eric Swanson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and OFDI was developed at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital by Gary Tearney, M.D., Ph.D., and Brett Bouma, Ph.D. The technology has been used extensively in the field of ophthalmology and more recently in coronary artery imaging. The platform is a high-resolution optical imaging technology that uses near infrared light, has 10 times higher resolution than ultrasound, and can create 3 dimensional images of the organ being imaged, without the need for ionizing radiation. The technology also supports the potential for the integration of additional imaging modalities.
About NinePoint Medical, Inc.
NinePoint Medical, Inc. is a transformational medical device company developing innovative, real-time, in vivo pathology devices focused on dramatically improving patient care. Through its proprietary optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI), a next-generation frequency domain optical coherence tomography, NinePoint intends to bridge the gap between the diagnosis and treatment of disease. With its advanced optical technology, OFDI will enable physicians and pathologists, for the first time, to view real-time, high resolution imaging of entire organs. Initially, NinePoint is focusing on devices that enable real-time screening and surveillance of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract for patients with Barrett’s esophagus, one of the most common precursors to esophageal cancer. Eventually, NinePoint intends to develop medical devices that provide physicians with immediately actionable information and that will allow them to diagnose and treat patients during the same procedure. This convergence of access, diagnosis and treatment during one procedure is expected to improve patient experiences and outcomes, improve the efficiency of care and provide important savings to the healthcare system. Broader applications of NinePoint’s technology are expected to follow in a variety of areas including pulmonary medicine, gynecology, urology and ENT. Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., NinePoint is backed by Third Rock Ventures and Prospect Venture Partners. For more information, please visit www.ninepointmedical.com.