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  • Auden Wolfe

Theia Imaging Awarded $1.9M SBIR Phase II Award from National Institutes of Health

Theia Imaging, a North Carolina-based MedTech startup developing cutting edge ophthalmic imaging devices, has been awarded a $1.9M SBIR Phase II Award by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

This Phase II award will allow Theia Imaging to bring to market a novel handheld optical coherence tomography (OCT) device, the early development of which was funded by a prior SBIR Phase I award the company received in 2021.

OCT is the gold standard for the diagnosis and monitoring of retinal and optic nerve diseases. Most clinical OCT systems are large tabletop devices that require patient cooperation and attention to function, and thus are not suitable for infants, young children, and patients who are otherwise unable to cooperate (including patients under anesthesia, patients in intensive care, and patients with certain disabilities). These patients share many of the same inherited and acquired retinal diseases with those who can cooperate with imaging, but cannot receive the same standard of care. Furthermore, many of these patients cannot communicate about vision disturbance or vision loss, making diagnosis of disease difficult to achieve before irrevocable vision loss occurs.

To address this unmet need, Theia Imaging had previously developed the Theia T1, a prototype handheld OCT system, funded by a prior Phase I grant. This follow-on Phase II award will allow Theia to complete the development of this device, obtain regulatory clearances and ultimately bring a handheld OCT device to market.

Christian Viehland and Hafeez Dhalla are the Principle Investigators of the project. "After years of research and development, both at Duke and at Theia, this Phase II award will finally allow us to get this exciting technology into the hands of clinicians," said Dr. Dhalla. "And the timing couldn't be better - there are currently no handheld OCT devices available on the market. We've got to work quickly and diligently to fill that gap, and this award will make that possible."

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