Written by Kevin Volz.
Biotechnology researchers work every day in Ohio’s hospitals and research institutions to create new devices or drugs that will improve lives. ImageIQ, based in Cleveland, Ohio, aims to further this research with image analysis software and services.
“Researchers look for a lot of information from an image,” said Tim Kulbago, president and CEO of ImageIQ. “They want to know how many cancer cells are in the image, how big something is, how much it’s moving, how it’s growing.”
ImageIQ’s technology makes it possible to answer these types of questions. The company takes research images from CT scans, MRIs and microscopes, analyzes those images, and provides researchers with data that is generated through its software. For example, in the race to find a drug that beats cancer, ImageIQ’s technology can help researchers evaluate images of tumors more efficiently.
“What you need to do in a cancer drug trial is identify every tumor, the volume of the tumor, the density of the tumor, its shape, how much bigger or smaller is it than the last time you checked, how many more tumors there are overall,” said Kulbago. “That is a very sophisticated analysis that just can’t happen with people right now because it takes too long. That’s where our technology comes into play. We hope to enable researchers to prepare for FDA approvals more efficiently and effectively, and get these medications and devices to patients sooner.”
ImageIQ received its initial funding from the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC), which was established in 2007 with an Ohio Third Frontier grant. The company spent three years in the GCIC building as part of their incubator program before moving to a standalone facility in the summer of 2014.
“There were three huge benefits to working in the GCIC,” said Kulbago. “First, they provided us with everything from phones to internet to physical space. This allowed us to focus on the business and not the background noise. Second, we worked in the facility with other similar companies, allowing us to share ideas easily. In addition, we had phenomenal access to the GCIC team and were able to bounce concepts off of some really smart people. Those three aspects made it a really good experience.”
Outside of their ties to the Cleveland Clinic, Kulbago believes the talent in the Cleveland area is a key part of the company’s success.
“We rely heavily on software experts at ImageIQ,” said Kulbago. “Thanks to the area’s universities and businesses, we have had excellent success finding that talent locally.”
ImageIQ started with four Cleveland Clinic employees and now employ up to 14. The company is preparing to launch two new product lines in April 2015 that could lead to further job growth.