Ann Arbor Developer Of Eye Disease Detection Wins 'Inno-Vention' Award

PONTIAC — An Ann Arbor-based medical device manufacturer that developed a technology to detect eye disease years earlier than current methods has won the “Inno-Vator of the Year” award from Oakland County’s Medical Main Street.

OcuSciences Inc. is a medical diagnostic device company commercializing a rapid, non-invasive test for early detection of retinal disease. Doctors can use the device to screen patients for diabetes and early eye disease. Optometrists and ophthalmologists can use the device to diagnose and monitor disease progression and guide therapy.

The award honors the creators of a medical device which demonstrates the most dramatic change in the health care industry in Michigan. To be considered for the award, the device must have been developed in Michigan, achieved prototype development and validation, and incorporate a game-changing innovation.

The award will be presented Oct. 22 during Medical Main Street’s Inno-Vention 2014 conference at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

Based on technology licensed from the University of Michigan, OcuSciences has developed a proprietary, ocular imaging technique, Retinal Metabolic Analysis, as a non-invasive, rapid biomarker for measuring the damage to retinal tissue due to diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. This new measure has been termed a new vital sign for patients — similar to blood pressure or body temperature.

The RMA technology provides a means to detect disease processes several years earlier than current clinical methods and before irreversible structural alterations due to cell death become visible in the retina.

OcuSciences has demonstrated that RMA is more predictive of diabetes than other tests, helping pharmaceutical companies develop ophthalmic drugs more rapidly and precisely.

With 57 million diabetics in the U.S. today, and eight percent of those as undiagnosed diabetics, diabetes is a rapidly growing epidemic, especially among children. The screening for diabetic retinopathy and early treatment can help prevent blindness in 24,000 patients annually and reduce the $174 billion costs associated with diabetes.

At last year’s Inno-Vention event, Ann Arbor-based HistoSonics won the award for its Vortx Rx device that uses sound energy to treat tissue inside the body without the need for traditional surgery. In 2012, Sentio LLC of Southfield and Ablative Solutions of Kalamazoo were named co-winners. Sentio created a device to alert doctors when nerves are at risk during surgery and Ablative Solutions’ technology treats hypertension.

Inno-Vention 2014 will be held Oct. 21 and 22. Now in its third year, the conference will feature an expansion of the popular Demonstration Alley, with 21 companies exhibiting the latest medical technology innovations. There will also be expert panel discussions on intellectual property, accountable care organizations, health and wellness as an asset, and mobile health care.

Medical Main Street is an effort established by Oakland County to boost medical device production in the county and the Detroit area. Its board includes representatives of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Beaumont Health System, Beckman Coulter Molecular Diagnostics, Crittenton Hospital, Detroit Medical Center, Ferndale Laboratories, Henry Ford Health Systems, Housey Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories, McLaren Health Care Oakland, MichBio, State Rep. Gail Haines, R-Waterford, Oakland Community College, Oakland University, Oxus Inc., Priority Health, Rockwell Medical Technologies, St. John Providence Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and Stryker Corp.

For more information on Inno-Vention 2014, visit www.MedicalMainStreet.com.

More about OcuSciences at www.OcuSciences.com.

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