Ohio University

TechGROWTH Ohio portfolio company OsteoDx receives $2M grant from the National Institutes of Health

Published: May 19, 2021 Author: Staff reports

OsteoDx Inc., a TechGROWTH Ohio portfolio company, has been selected for funding through a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant with the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will provide $2M in support of a multicenter study to further measure and validate the efficacy of the company’s proprietary Cortical Bone Mechanics Technology (CBMT), designed to identify patients at risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.

“The National Institutes of Health selected OsteoDx in a very competitive process, which is yet another level of significant external validation of the potential value of our technology,” OsteoDx Chief Executive Officer Gary Wakeford said. He further explained that the 2.3 million fragility fractures each year in the U.S. is costing the healthcare system $19 billion. This problem will only get bigger in the foreseeable future given the country’s aging population, he indicated.

Wakeford noted that TechGROWTH Ohio’s support has played a pivotal role in the development and advancement of the company.

“Having the collaborative and financial support of TechGROWTH Ohio has made the company an attractive option to additional investors within this space,” Wakeford said. “The combined efforts of TechGROWTH Ohio, the Ohio University Innovation Center, and Ohio University’s Technology Transfer Office have allowed the company to achieve a significant milestone that would not otherwise have been attainable.”

OsteoDx’s proprietary technology, which was developed at Ohio University in Athens, aims to solve the problem of identifying a patients’ risk factor 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 aims to provide a confident assessment of bone strength, as well as fracture risk.

“The SBIR Phase II award will provide the validation necessary to help advance this technology and the company to market adoption,” said Jane New, director of TechGROWTH.

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. 

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 $678 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.

For additional information on OsteoDx and this revolutionary technology, contact Gary Wakeford at wakefordgary@gmail.com or at 330-766-1173.