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Opticul Diagnostics Wins BioMaryland Center Grant for International Project

Opticul Diagnostics has won a BioMaryland Center grant to work on a medical device with a France-based company that would immediately identify microorganisms in a wound at a point-of-care setting, such as a hospital.

The device would be used on burn injuries and cutaneous wounds. The rapid identification of the bacteria in the wound would allow for quicker patient treatment.

Opitcul Diagnostics, based at Johns Hopkins University’s Montgomery County Campus, is collaborating with Diafir of Rennes, France. The two companies have received funding through a partnership between BioMaryland Center and Medicen Paris Region.

BioMaryland Center and Medicen Paris Region signed an agreement in 2012 to “work together to support innovation, commercialization and collaboration in the life sciences Optidet 3.0 bacteria detection deviceindustry,” according to a BioMaryland Center news release. The BioMaryland-Medicen Paris Region Funding Initiative funds joint projects between Maryland and French companies.

BioMaryland Center, part of the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development, is contributing $200,000 to the initiative. Opticul Diagnostics is contributing an additional $200,000. Medicen Paris Region and Diafir are contributing a combined $400,000.

The Opitcul Diagnostics – Diafir project is the first jointly funded international project undertaken by the BioMaryland Center, according to the news release.

Opticul Diagnostics was founded by husband-and-wife Israel and Gallya Gannot. They founded the company in Jerusalem in 2008 and formed a Maryland subsidiary in 2010. Israel Gannot is an associate research professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering.

The company is targeting easy and low-cost clinical laboratory microorganism identification without the use of chemical agents. Every microorganism has its own, unique fingerprint in the infrared zone. After a sample is taken from a patient, the swab can be examined with the use of the Optidet device. Using spectroscopic methods, the device can determine whether the patient has strep, E. coli or other bacterial infections. Using this device yields faster results than other commonly used devices. That rapid information helps doctors treat patients more quickly.

Diafir’s work focuses on fibers that can be put directly on a wound.

Using the two technologies together would eliminate the need to take a culture from the wound. Instead, the fiber would be put on the wound and analyzed by the Optidet device. Eliminating the need for a culture means faster results.

Both companies use the same concepts of spectroscopy in their devices.

“It’s a wonderful match,” Israel Gannot said. “This is wonderful proof of synergy. It is really solving an unmet need.”

“The partnerships we’ve made around the globe have been fruitful for Maryland’s economy and also signify the world-class nature of our innovators in fields like the life sciences,” said Dominick Murray, secretary of the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development.

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