Close-up photo showing the hands of researchers using liquid in beakers in a lab setting

CWRU and ICBM Medical Inc. sign license agreement, advancing biosensor technology to screen and monitor prostate cancer, other medical conditions

Case Western Reserve University and ICBM Medical Inc. have signed an exclusive license agreement to further develop biosensor technology to provide low-cost, rapid patient screening and monitoring for a range of critical clinical conditions, from prostate cancer to concussions.

Licensing, issued through Case Western Reserve’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO), is part of a multi-step, multi-year process to develop and commercialize promising university-based technology. Last fall, Case Western Reserve and ICBM (Instantaneous Catalytic BioMarker) Medical signed a one-year option-to-license agreement for the technology.

“We’re pleased with the rapid progress that ICBM Medical has made and are confident the company will leverage this innovative technology most effectively,” said Mike Allan, senior licensing officer with the TTO. “Since 2012, when this technology was initially disclosed, we have invested in intellectual property and other substantial university resources to position the technology for its best chance of success. We’re excited to partner with ICBM Medical to now make this a reality.”

Photo of researcher C.C. Liu
C.C. Liu

Cleveland-based ICBM Medical was established to develop technology invented by Distinguished University Professor C.C. Liu, the Wallace R. Persons Professor of Sensor Technology and Control in Case Western Reserve’s Department of Chemical Engineering, who is also a founder, board member and the company’s chief technology officer.

“The completion of the CWRU-ICBM Medical license agreement enables us to confidently ramp up the near-term product development activities,” said ICBM Medical President and CEO Stephanie Harrington.

Next steps are to optimize biosensor and reader pre-production designs, produce prototypes and begin clinical testing in 2018. To date, ICBM Medical has received sufficient funding to complete these steps as it moves toward securing a Series A preferred investment.

With the changing health-care landscape, emphasizing early detection and self-monitoring, the technology’s potential is driven by the emergence of nanotechnology and nanobiosensors, glucose monitoring and increased demand for home care and point-of-care devices.

The first clinical application is an alternative biomarker for prostate cancer, the third most-common type of cancer nationally, with more than 3 million men living with the disease. ICBM Medical is developing a rapid, low-cost biosensor to detect Alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase, or AMACR, an enzyme over-produced in malignant prostate.

The biosensor offers a potentially significant clinical advancement over PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing, a diagnostic blood test and the current standard for screening and managing malignant prostate cancer.

Although detecting and managing prostate cancer is the initial focus, the sensing technology also holds promise for identifying and monitoring metastasized breast cancer, traumatic brain injury, diabetes and concussion.

“The AMACR biosensor system for prostate cancer is the furthest along in development,” Harrington said. “This technology allows the first application to become the foundation for the next, making product development more efficient and scalable, offering a range of new products to drive future growth.”

This article was originally published June 5, 2017.