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JumpStart to Invest $350,000 in Cleveland Firm Working to Improve MRIs

Friday, June 20, 2008

Provided by The Plain Dealer
Written by Mary Vanac

JumpStart Inc. has committed to investing $350,000 in a Cleveland company that is developing a high-performance coil for magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scanners.

JumpStart's commitment to Tursiop Technologies LLC is part of a recent investment round that includes $1 million from RMS Management, the family office that manages investments for the founding families of Forest City Enterprises Inc. in Cleveland.

Tursiop represents the 41st investment made by JumpStart, a taxpayer-supported nonprofit organization in Northeast Ohio that since 2004 has invested in 30 companies to develop them for future investments.

Tursiop's chief executive, Brad Goldstein, and the inventor of its technology, Raju Viswanathan, are using the investments to open an office and laboratory in the BioEnterprise building on Cedar Avenue.

There, Goldstein and Viswanathan plan to continue research and development for their product - novel coils that enable MRI scanners to produce better and faster images from inside your body.

The scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves - not radiation, like X-rays do - to make three-dimensional images.

"Currently, the most effective method of improving image quality is through increased magnet strength, which is a costly alternative," said Kevin Mendelsohn, the entrepreneur-in-residence at JumpStart who is working with Tursiop.

"The other is through the use of specialty coils, but when compared to increased magnet strength, the improvement has been relatively small," Mendelsohn said in a written statement.

Instead, Viswanathan has found that applying certain nanomaterials - materials built one atom at a time - to conventional coils can enhance the electrical properties of the coils.

This can substantially improve MRI images and eventually could enable manufacturers to make smaller scanners at lower costs, Goldstein said.

Goldstein is an electrical engineer and computer scientist who has 20 years' experience in commercializing advanced technologies.

He met Viswanathan in November 2005 while judging Tursiop's submission to Case Western Reserve University's Nanotechnology Business Idea Contest.

"We stayed in touch after the presentation," Goldstein said.