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Voxeleron Awarded NIH SBIR Grant for Device-independent Retinal OCT Image Analysis Software

Voxeleron announced today that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $222,991 from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS), to further develop device-independent retinal image analysis software.  

This grant will significantly expand and enhance Voxeleron’s OrionTM image analysis software for studying optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of the human retina.  This platform will provide the first device-independent and commercially available software that can perform analyses, static or longitudinal, on the thicknesses of the layers of the retina directly associated with photo-receptor and neuronal degeneration.  Voxeleron will collaborate with Professor Pablo Villoslada of UCSF/IDIBAPS and Dr. Pearse Keane of Moorfields Eye Hospital to validate the algorithms and ensure clinical utility.

“Ocular and neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of Americans each year,” said Daniel Russakoff, Ph.D., Voxeleron’s co-founder and the principal investigator of this grant. “There is a dire need for advanced, device-independent tools for ophthalmic OCT analysis – a need we will address directly with this award.”  

This technology is poised to facilitate the development of new and robust clinical biomarkers for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  By validating segmentation algorithms across devices and time this work is poised to accelerate the pace of discovery and understanding of both ocular and neurodegenerative diseases.  

Dr. Pearse Keane, MD, FRCOphth, is an NIHR clinician scientist at the Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, and an honorary consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital.  Specialising in age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, Dr. Keane is an expert in ophthalmic OCT and is a leading collaborator in the effort to bring advanced analysis techniques to clinical practice.

Professor Pablo Villoslada is an adjunct professor at UCSF and the Director of the Visual Pathway Lab at IDIBAPS in Barcelona. His focus is on the development of new therapies, biomarkers and diagnostic methods for MS and other autoimmune and brain diseases.  He has particular interest in OCT imaging of the anterior visual pathway, and how the retina can be used as a marker of neurodegeneration in MS and other diseases.