Pensievision Inc. Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D
San Diego, 07/31/2018 – Pensievision Inc. has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on CervImage™ - an innovative 3D medical imaging technology for early-stage detection and analysis of cancers, initially focusing on detecting pre-cancer cervical lesions.
The versatility of this imaging platform can be adapted to resolve either diagnostic challenges in the developed world or cost-saving efforts in resource-limited settings. The 3D renderings produced by the device are enabled by proprietary 3D rendering software, capable of quantifying tissue color, volume and shape at the macroscopic level, while also evaluating cell size and approximate shape at the microscopic level. This system would be desirable for implementing a single-phase cervical cancer screening strategy to replace the current two-phase approach, which requires Pap smear and/or human papilloma virus assay, followed by the more expensive colposcopy in the case of an abnormal result. In developing countries, where it is a challenge to get patients to return for a follow-up visit, the technology could offer a pre-screening method that only requires a single visit. In addition, this 3D imaging system could be coupled with a therapeutic agent administered at the time of diagnosis (the single-visit screen-diagnose-and-treat method) in the future. In a broader sense, the application of this imaging technology can be extended beyond medical practice to other scientific and industrial disciplines. Potentially, this project has an immediate impact on saving lives and costs by early detection of fatal diseases.
“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”
The Pensievision team hopes to enhance then successfully test the imaging device during this phase I grant in order to become eligible to apply for a Phase II grant ($1.25M). As part of this phase I the company will work on a commercialization plan for CervImage™
NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.