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Brillouin optical eye scanner prototypes for commercialization

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R42EY028820-02
Agency Tracking Number: R42EY028820
Amount: $1,223,453.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 100
Solicitation Number: PA20-261
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-06-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-05-31
Small Business Information
Cambridge, MA 02138-4430
United States
DUNS: 078427708
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (408) 334-9745
Business Contact
Phone: (310) 980-3087
Research Institution
BOSTON, MA 02114-2621
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

The overall goal of this STTR project is to commercialize a novel optical eye scanner device capable of
measuring the biomechanical properties of tissues via Brillouin light scattering. The Brillouin technology
invented in the co-PI’s lab has shown broad potential for improving the diagnosis and treatment of vision
disorders. Clinical data obtained with current laboratory systems revealed corneal stiffness changes
caused by keratoconus, collagen crosslinking and keratectomy. For commercialization of this promising
technology, this fast-track project streamlines development through innovative engineering that focuses
on miniaturization, cost lowering and manufacturing compatibility, in close collaboration between the
inventor’s lab and a spin-off startup that is led by an experienced team in the ophthalmology device
industry. Phase-I was previously funded to develop a frequency-stabilized laser source with reduced
spontaneous emission noise (successfully completed). Phase-II will take this innovation to develop and
test a tabletop alpha prototype (Aim II-1) and then build portable beta prototypes (Aim II-2). The
functionality, reliability and operability of the prototypes will be validated in clinical pilot trials in an eye
hospital for variety of clinical cases including keratoconus cases, pre- and post- refractive surgery cases,
and pre- and post- collagen crosslinking cases. The successful completion of this project will have
transferred Brillouin microscopy from academia to the medical device industry, and will accelerate the
translation of tissue biomechanical assessments into clinical practice. Ultimately, the successful
commercialization of in vivo Brillouin imaging will have a high impact on eye healthcare by improving the
diagnosis, intervention and surgical treatment of various vision problems.PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE
This proposal is relevant to public health because it will accelerate the commercialization of novel
diagnostic devices to identify progressive keratoconus and risk of post-LASIK ectasia more accurately
than currently possible and allow patients to receive timely optimized treatments. Unlike current methods
for detection of keratoconus, the proposed technique will directly measure biomechanical properties of
corneal stroma before the disease manifests itself via corneal shape distortion. Furthermore, the new
instrument will improve the outcome of collagen crosslinking and astigmatic keratotomy and may help
development of interventional prevention of myopia and cataract. Having spatially-resolved
biomechanical measurements of the cornea may allow customization for treatment options designed to
strengthen the tissue. Therefore, the proposed research is relevant to the NIH’s mission of fostering
innovative research strategies to increase the nation’s ability to improve the treatment of disease.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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