A Medical Device Daily

VirtualScopics (Rochester, New York), a provider of imaging solutions using biomarkers for pharmaceutical development, reported that it is providing analytical and imaging services to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (Madison, New Jersey) for a Phase I clinical trial for a drug being studied as a potential treatment for muscle wasting.

VirtualScopics uses its suite of image analysis algorithms to detect and analyze biological structures from medical image data, such as computed tomography (CT) or MRI scans.

VirtualScopics' computer-assisted analysis technique is designed for faster, more reliable detection of disease progression or therapeutic benefit, accelerating the clinical trial process, and providing for future diagnostic applications, it said. Its algorithms process hundreds of medical images taken during an MRI or CT session into a single, anatomically accurate 3-D model, providing researchers a previously unobtainable source of reproducible data, including characterization of minute changes over time, according to the company.

The firm evolved from research initially undertaken at the Medical Center and School of Engineering at the University of Rochester.

In other award news:

• LifePoint (Ontario, California), a provider of non-invasive drug diagnostics and solutions, reported that the company will sub-license its exclusive rights to saliva-testing technology acquired from the U.S. Navy.

This strategy is in addition to completing "fixes" now under way with its current Impact system that are designed to enhance its marketplace capability, the company said.

LifePoint has developed an "on-site" diagnostic system using saliva rather than traditional blood or urine systems. LifePoint's system is based on a license of U.S. Navy patents for saliva-based "flow immunosensor" technology, providing it with exclusive rights to commercialize all saliva-based diagnostics using the technology.

"On the current product front, we intend to resolve the two or three most serious operational problems being experienced with the existing Impact system as quickly as possible," Wadley said. "Our goal is to provide existing customers and prospects with a testing system that provides more consistent and accurate results than the current product is providing." He added: [W]e are optimistic that satisfactory solutions will be found over the next few months . . . . Beyond that, however, we intend to start leveraging our exclusive worldwide license rights to all saliva-based flow immunosensor' diagnostics."

• ChondroGene (Toronto) reported receiving "a contribution" – the amount not disclosed – from the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to support development of a blood-based molecular diagnostic assay able to detect early, asymptomatic osteoarthritis (OA), as well as stage its severity.

ChondroGene will use its Sentinel Principle to identify blood-based biomarkers that are associated with OA. Once validated, these biomarkers will form the basis of a diagnostic test.

Currently the treatments for osteoarthritis only target the symptoms of the disease, namely pain and inflammation, ChondroGene said. In the most severe cases, artificial joint replacement is the only treatment. Pharma companies are seeking to develop disease modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) that will slow, stop the progression of disease or, ideally, reverse the process. These companies will require "a simple and effective way of detecting patients with early stage asymptomatic OA and monitoring the progress of disease during the development and clinical trials of DMOADs," the company said.