iCardiac Technologies, Inc. a Rochester, NY based startup company that’s developing cardiac safety biomarkers, is featured prominently in yesterday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Strong pulse at iCardiac in Brighton). The company has spun out ECG technology from the University of Rochester’s renowned Heart Research Follow-up Program.
iCardiac is already helping pharmaceutical companies determine which drugs cause cardiac safety problems, and which don’t. The current gold standard, a semi-manual measurement of the “QT interval” over a few heartbeats, is primitive. As a result, some drugs with cardiac safety dangers make it to market –only to cause problems once they do– and promising drugs are kept from the market needlessly because they are wrongly seen to be problematic.
iCardiac, by contrast, has created software to analyze a full 24-hour set of data to derive much more accurate results.
iCardiac raised an initial round of venture capital investment on the promise of its technology. Pfizer was so impressed that it, too, funded the company with an equity investment.
More recently, the company has started to apply its technology to the area of “personalized medicine” and attracted additional funding for that endeavor.
“The reality is, no drug is safe for everybody,” [said iCardiac CEO, Mike Totterman]. “But (with this test) you (could) basically predict which person can safely take a drug and which can’t.”
That means rather than keeping a drug off the market because it may harm certain patients, those patients can be identified in advance and kept off the drug. That would be a boon to patients and pharma companies.
The article notes that:
Allens Creek Road in Brighton [a Rochester suburb] is a long way from North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, California’s Silicon Valley or the I-495 technology corridor in Massachusetts.
But step inside the offices of iCardiac Technologies, Inc.,… and those meccas of economic success built on academic research seem a little bit closer.
The reporter probably didn’t realize it, but the company actually has links to all three places:
- As a key participant in an FDA-sponsored cardiac safety initiative at Duke University
- With Anik Bose, a venture capitalist and iCardiac board member from Silicon Valley
- With me (David Williams), from Boston, also a board member