Research and Impact

TechGROWTH Ohio announces investment in Ohio University spinout OsteoDx, Inc.

TechGROWTH Ohio Fund, the Ohio Third Frontier-Ohio University investment fund focusing on early-stage technology companies, announces its investment in OsteoDX, Inc. (formerly known as AEIOU Scientific). OsteoDx is developing and commercializing its pioneering Cortical Bone Mechanics Technology (CBMT), which non-invasively assesses bone strength.

The investment will help OsteoDx prepare for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II funding. Jane New, TechGROWTH Ohio director, said OsteoDx was selected because its promising technology presents a tremendous market opportunity for accurately assessing bone strength.

“Our main goal with this investment is to help build a bridge for the company to secure the SBIR Phase II funding award and secure additional follow-on funding,” New said. “We believe this will allow the company to achieve the technology validation that is critical for initial market entry.”

Current diagnostic technologies designed to assess skeletal health do not determine actual bone strength. Instead, they mainly rely on assessing bone mineral density, which does not correlate well with strength nor adequately identify patients at risk of fracture.

OsteoDx’s proprietary technology aims to solve that problem by placing a vibrating ceramic probe against the forearm, which makes the bone under the skin vibrate in response. By using novel vibration analysis, the company believes it will be able to provide a confident assessment of bone strength as well as fracture risk.

“Having the support of TechGROWTH will position the company to advance through the next stage of development, including much broader levels of both technical and clinical validation,” OsteoDx Chief Executive Officer Gary Wakeford said. “A lead investor with the strong reputation of TechGROWTH will also do much to attract additional investors with experience and expertise in the medical device space.”

The company plans to sell the technology initially as a scientific instrument to bone research laboratories and universities beginning this year. OsteoDX will use the data from these labs to apply for FDA approval to enable OsteoDX to pursue the commercial market opportunity for the CBMT device beyond the research market.

Brian Clark, Ph.D., OsteoDx Chief of Aging Research, said that CBMT has the potential to help physicians more accurately identify who would benefit from osteoporosis medications and monitor the effectiveness of the treatment. Wakeford estimates this commercial market opportunity exceeds $1 billion.

TechGROWTH Ohio has provided financial and advisory support and resources to help OsteoDx attract and retain the company’s current CEO, as well as a grant-writing consultant to prepare the SBIR Phase II proposal and a student intern for additional technical assistance. A team of experienced TechGROWTH Executives-in-Residence has also provided ongoing guidance and advice.

“The expertise TechGROWTH brings to the table will be extremely helpful as we prepare the company and the technology for large scale commercialization,” Wakeford said. “Both TechGROWTH and OsteoDx have strong commitments to excellence in the marketplace as well as to Southeast Ohio. It is a great partnership of talent, capital and commitment.”

As Ohio Third Frontier’s regional entrepreneurial service provider, TechGROWTH Ohio is a premier program of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. TechGROWTH provides technology start-up companies in the 19-county Southeast Ohio area access to business assistance and sources of capital. More than 2,300 area start-ups and entrepreneurs, including OsteoDx, have generated over $643 million in additional local economic activity with TechGROWTH Ohio’s support.

OsteoDx is a medical technology start-up that spun out of technology developed at Ohio University. The commercialization efforts initially began a few years ago with funding from the Ohio University Innovation Strategy Program. In August 2020, the company also won NASA’s Ignite the Night OHIO award, a national program designed to identify solutions to problems of interest to NASA.

The company is an I-Corps@Ohio success story, which provided OsteoDx hands-on training in identifying and evaluating market needs and the commercial potential of groundbreaking technologies. OsteoDx currently has offices in the Ohio University Innovation Center.

March 2, 2021
Hardika Singh