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VasoLux Receives JumpStart Investment

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

JumpStart Inc., the Northeast Ohio venture development organization that accelerates the growth of innovative early-stage businesses and ideas, today announced the close of an equity investment commitment of $380,000 in VasoLux MicroSystems, LLC, a company developing a minimally invasive device that measures the quality of cartilage. The technology will aid in not only identifying osteoarthritis, a condition caused by the degradation of cartilage that affects more than 20 million Americans, but in determining the most effective treatment plan.

The VasoLux device is based on patented technologies licensed from the Hospital for Special Surgery and Sandia Corporation and uses a disposable fiber optic probe that emits light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The company’s chief technology officer, Dr. Subba Shankar, has continued to develop the technology, which will provide physicians with a numerical cartilage quality “score” based on the amount of light absorbed by the probe. VasoLux is currently assessing cartilage samples provided by the Hospital for Special Surgery in order to create an initial scoring database according to the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) guidelines. This score will add a quantitative element to an analysis test that has been primarily qualitative to date.

Shankar and VasoLux general manager, Elliot Reed, have received previous funding from the Innovation Fund of the Lorain County Community College Foundation and plan to use JumpStart’s investment to further develop the prototype and begin clinical trials.

JumpStart Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ted Frank will be working with the company. “Not only is VasoLux developing an exceptional device likely to become the gold standard for cartilage observation, the company has coupled this material device improvement with an extensive, growing diagnostic database against which they can quantitatively benchmark cartilage quality and ensure proper treatment options are applied. The improved standard of care and reduced cost of treatment position VasoLux quite nicely for success in the market,” said Frank.

“JumpStart’s investment provides us with a strong foundation to commercialize a revolutionary technology that not only improves the quality of life for patients suffering with osteoarthritis, but also reduces costs in the health care system by eliminating the waste generated from misdiagnoses,” said Reed. “This investment allows us to accelerate our product development efforts and execute our business plan. We are very thankful for JumpStart’s support.”

This is JumpStart’s 45th investment in its 34th company. Other healthcare companies in JumpStart’s portfolio include AcelleRx Therapeutics, AnalizaDx, CardioInsight Technologies, CerviLenz, Inc., Freedom Meditech Inc., Great Lakes Pharmaceuticals, Synapse Biomedical and Telerad Express.

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About VasoLux MicroSystems, LLC
VasoLux MicroSystems, LLC (www.vasolux.com) has developed a novel diagnostic imaging system to help surgeons identify later-stage osteoarthritis patients who are best suited for cartilage repair procedures or joint replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis – a condition caused by the degradation of cartilage – is considered one of the leading causes of chronic disability worldwide and affects more than 20 million people in the U.S. alone. VasoLux’s technology quantitatively assesses the quality of cartilage, in vivo, in a non-destructive, minimally invasive procedure. Competing procedures and technologies, such as arthroscopy, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, OCT, and X-ray cannot provide physicians with an objective measurement capable of identifying the early progression of osteoarthritis, determining the true extent of a cartilage defect, or evaluating the quality of regenerated cartilage. Consequently, physicians lack the information needed to select the appropriate therapeutic intervention or revise their treatment plan if prior efforts have not reinvigorated the cartilage or prevented its degeneration. VasoLux’s diagnostic imaging system eliminates the subjective diagnoses of osteoarthritis, which in turn reduces inefficiencies in the health care system.

About JumpStart Inc.
JumpStart (www.jumpstartinc.org) accelerates the growth of innovative early-stage businesses and ideas into venture-ready companies by delivering vital, focused resources to entrepreneurs and the community of Northeast Ohio. JumpStart identifies and invests in early-stage companies that have strong potential in the marketplace, solid prospects for high growth, and are likely to qualify for later-stage funding. Beyond investing, the JumpStart team provides a continuum of business development services to its client companies to help ensure their success.