Within medical diagnostics, a wide range of procedures allows clinicians to diagnose diseases and monitor treatment response. However, many fields have an unmet need for accurate and quantitative approaches. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT), developed by iThera Medical, is an innovative, non-invasive diagnostic imaging method that has the potential to provide diagnostic breakthroughs in a range of diseases.
MSOT uses a physical effect that no other clinical imaging technology has used before: the conversion of light energy into sound waves, also known as the photoacoustic effect. The technology provides information of tissue status based on the detection of disease biomarkers. MSOT has already demonstrated its clinical value through numerous pilot studies in a wide variety of disease areas. In particular, MSOT has shown significant potential to offer improved diagnosis and treatment monitoring in diseases linked to inflammation, fibrosis, and cancer.
Funded through the EIC Accelerator under Horizon Europe, FRONTIER (From Research Optoacoustic Novelty To Imaging Established in Routine diagnostics) will serve a critical role in the development of MSOT by bridging the gap between the laboratory and the clinic. The project encompasses three major objectives: MSOT system optimization, achieving broad clinical validation and regulatory approval for the new platform, and developing a robust market access strategy in cooperation with national and regional policymakers.
Christian Wiest, CEO and co-founder of iThera Medical, describes the strategic importance of the project: “We envision FRONTIER as the next major step necessary to translate our MSOT technology from a tool in research to a diagnostic asset in a clinical setting, where we believe it will be a game-changer for millions of patients worldwide.”
With an initial grant funding of €2.5 million and a kickoff in early 2022, FRONTIER will serve as a key enabling project for the ongoing development of MSOT technology and drive successful market introduction of the optimized clinical MSOT system.
The EIC Accelerator is the European Innovation Council‘s (EIC) flagship programme for SMEs. It was launched in September 2019 by the European Commission as a pilot in the perspective of Horizon Europe and replaces the SME Instrument introduced under Horizon 2020. Like its predecessor, the EIC Accelerator is a funding instrument for SMEs and start-ups that develop breakthrough innovation projects with high growth potential. The EIC Accelerator remains the largest and most competitive public funding program in Europe with success rates of less than 3%. It provides funding for an average of 30 to 40 companies per call, via 3 to 4 calls for projects per year.
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