LAWRENCE – One outcome of research at the University of Kansas is the potential for discoveries that become products. Over the years, KU researchers have produced numerous inventions – including pharmaceuticals and software – that benefit people while having an economic effect.
The latest example is Galileo, a medical device designed and manufactured by a Kansas company, Epic Medical Concepts & Innovations Inc. (EMCI), for use with fMRI machines and other diagnostic imaging tools. Using air pulses at near-hypersonic speeds, instead of electrical signals, it evokes a response in the brain when attached to the face or hands. This allows for precise analysis of speech and motor systems in human subjects.
The device is made of plastic and has no metal parts or electrical signals that can interfere with the magnetic field in an fMRI. As a result, Galileo permits real-time, noninvasive observation of brain activity and allows for mapping studies that weren’t possible before.
Dr. Steve Barlow, a former KU faculty member, developed the TAC-Cell nerve ending stimulation technology utilized in Galileo. KU holds patent rights and has licensed them exclusively to EMCI. The medical device developer, founded in 2006 and based in Mission, employs engineering and regulatory experts, along with others in manufacturing and marketing positions.
“We expect Galileo to result in significant scientific breakthroughs and new therapies over the next few years for stroke, traumatic brain injury and other neurological conditions,” says Peter Lucas, co-founder and chief operating officer of EMCI. “There is nothing like Galileo, and there is nothing in the marketplace better suited for this type of research.”
Rajiv Kulkarni, director at KU Innovation and Collaboration, said, “EMCI is a great fit for KU’s technology. It’s an innovative medical device company, and we think this will be a productive relationship for them and for KU.”
Overall, KU has nearly 80 active license agreements for the commercial use of KU discoveries. Revenue generated by licensing is reinvested in future research and technology commercialization activities.