News Article

EXCMR readies clinical pilot of MRI-compatible heart-test treadmill
Date: Oct 03, 2011
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Featured firm in this article: EXCMR Ltd of Columbus, OH

Ohio State University spinoff EXCMR is preparing for a fourth-quarter launch of a four-site clinical test of its MRI-compatible treadmill for heart-stress testing.

The clinical test's chief goal is to compare the performance of the company's stress test against competing alternatives and fine-tune the treadmill's design, plus its installation and servicing processes.

"Launching this pilot is an important milestone for us to show that we can build, service and install these treadmill systems, and also demonstrate their superior clinical value," said Gary Smith, the Columbus, Ohio-based company's acting CEO.

The company says its treadmill system enables physicians to more quickly, cheaply and safely diagnose cardiovascular disease via "peak stress tests" that evaluate heart function. The key is that the treadmill is built without magnetic parts, which means it can be housed inside a Mechanical Resonance Imaging (MRI) room.

The thinking is that administering an MRI immediately after stepping off a treadmill can better measure heart function and blood flow and, as a result, cut down on the need for multiple testing, catching some heart problems earlier.

Treadmill exercise stress tests are typically performed using echocardiographic and nuclear imaging processes, but EXCMR says MRIs are more accurate than either of those alternatives (better diagnostic capabilities) and safer than nuclear imaging (no radiation exposure).

EXCMR is hoping to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance and begin commercializing the treadmill by the end of 2012. To support that commercialization, the company is targeting a $750,000 round of angel investment that it's looking to close around the end of this year.

EXCMR's target customers for the treadmill, which is expected to sell for $105,000, are large hospitals that perform MRIs on heart patients. The company has already scored an early win, inking a marketing partnership with medical equipment giant Siemens Healthcare.

Since it was launched in 2009, EXCMR has raised about $3.5 million in grant funding from sources including state-supported technology group TechColumbus, the Cleveland Clinic's Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center and the National Institutes of Health, Smith said.

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