Non-invasive device enables better monitoring of esophageal disease and inflammation.
AURORA, Colo., January 6, 2015 – EnteroTrack, LLC and the University of Colorado (CU) have executed an exclusive license agreement that will allow the company to develop and market a novel device to monitor inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Diagnosing inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), severe gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE), food allergic enteropathy (FAE), and inflammatory bowel disease (lBD) is often difficult, since blood tests and radio-imaging aren’t able to pinpoint the cause of inflammation. Ultimately, many patients must undergo endoscopy – use of an instrument to visualize the esophagus and collect samples for testing.
EnteroTrack LLC is developing a capsule that allows for simple, low-cost analysis of esophageal content. The capsule can help identify the presence of esophageal inflammation, leading to faster treatment. The capsule can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and in the future may also be used to help diagnose esophageal diseases.
The company was formed as a result of a partnership between Glenn T. Furuta, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus and a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado; Robin Shandas, Ph.D., professor and chair of bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver, College of Engineering and Applied Science; and Steven Ackerman, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.
“This partnership represents the best aspect of academic medicine,” said Furuta. “We have been able to successfully collaborate in a multi-disciplinary fashion to develop and execute a plan that will ultimately improve the lives children and adults with gastrointestinal diseases.” Furuta developed the technology in collaboration with Ackerman; the duo then approached Shandas to move the idea from the university research lab into a commercial entity.
At that time, Children’s Hospital Colorado stepped in to provide seed funding to the company, supporting the innovative research of the researchers and recognizing the opportunity to positively impact the lives of children with inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal track.
“Given the increasing pressures to contain costs, there is clear rationale for innovative, cost-effective methods to monitor esophageal diseases,” said Shandas, who is acting as the company’s interim CEO. “This technology holds particular promise because it can reduce total patient care costs while keeping good margins. We hope to obtain FDA approval for the device in 2015.”
EnteroTrack aims to be a key player in the field of detecting gastrointestinal (GI) biomarkers to monitor various diseases in children and adults. In contrast to current, more invasive approaches or less direct methods, the company’s products are minimally invasive and targeted for specific organs and diseases. The diagnostic market for GI diseases in the US exceeds $1B annually. The company has received funding from Children’s Hospital Colorado, and from the State of Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant program.
At the CU Denver College of Engineering, Design and Computing, we focus on providing our students with a comprehensive engineering education at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. Faculty conduct research that spans our five disciplines of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science and engineering. The college collaborates with industry from around the state; our laboratories and research opportunities give students the hands-on experience they need to excel in the professional world.