|A Montana State University technology anticipated to improve the accuracy of medical diagnoses has been licensed by FYR Diagnostics, a biotech company in Missoula.
The license agreement transfers to FYR Diagnostics a molecule detection technology developed by Stephanie McCalla, assistant professor in MSU’s Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, and Tomas Gedeon, professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Leading a research team, the MSU professors invented a novel, rapid, highly sensitive method to detect biological molecules that can indicate the presence of a particular type of injury or disease within a human body. By amplifying the signal of these promising biomarker molecules, the technology enables rapid and early diagnoses of medical conditions and diseases before symptoms emerge.
FYR Diagnostics was founded in 2016 to develop technology that can detect diseases that lack effective clinical diagnostic tools. The company plans to integrate the MSU technology into portable devices that could replace expensive and complex diagnostic procedures performed only in distant laboratories.
“There are not yet commercially available ways to do this kind of field detection of injuries and diseases,” said Sarjubhai Patel, a molecular neuropharmacologist at the University of Montana and president of FYR Diagnostics. “This biomarker detection technology can help millions of people, by allowing rapid and early diagnosis with the ability to track long-term outcomes for a multitude of diseases.”
MSU’s technology is particularly important because it uses a binary on or off feature. Most molecular medical diagnostic technologies suffer background noise that can trigger false positives or inadvertently mask a molecule of interest generating a false negative.
Daniel Juliano, associate director for technology licensing at MSU’s Technology Transfer Office, said a provisional patent application for the technology was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2017, which allowed the university to begin developing the license agreement. FYR Diagnostics worked with MSU to file a non-provisional patent application that will protect its license and MSU’s intellectual property rights.
“This is a great example of why investing in research is so important. This technology will help the world be a healthier place and create economic growth here in Montana,” Juliano said.