Herndon, VA (PRWEB) March 21, 2012
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today a $125,000 investment in iTi Health, Inc., of Charlottesville, Va., whose proprietary technology identifies a protein biomarker in the early stages of pancreatic cancer.
CIT President and CEO Pete Jobse said, “iTi Health’s innovative technology addresses the need for earlier identification of cancerous diseases within the body, a pioneering discovery that will change the lives of many. With CIT’s investment, iTi Health will enrich the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
iTi Health’s platform technology, PHAGEMARK™, rapidly identifies novel disease and drug-response targets. By focusing on the validation of its lead imaging product, Plectiscan™, which detects the target for pancreatic cancer, known as plectin, iTi Health will address the at-risk population for this disease – an estimated 900,000 individuals per year in the U.S. In studies on over 100 human pancreatic tumors, there is a 100% correlation between cancer presence and the expression of plectin. Plectin is also detected in nearly two-thirds of advanced precancerous lesions, but not in other benign inflammatory conditions of the pancreas, such as pancreatitis.
iTi Health Co-Founder and CEO Greg Fralish said, “There is a great medical need for new ways to diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier and more effectively. The current standard diagnostic algorithm is costly, complex, invasive and not particularly accurate, leading to numerous expensive and highly invasive surgical resections being misprescribed. iTi Health aims to diagnose this crippling disease definitively and earlier in its progression, fundamentally improving the diagnosis, surgical management and treatment of the disease. We see Plectiscan™ as a transforming diagnostic tool for primary care physicians, surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists and gastroenterologists. These physicians and their patients need better ways to diagnose and monitor pancreatic cancer.”
Tom Weithman, CIT Vice President and GAP Funds Managing Director, said, “Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. With a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%, a prognosis has not improved in 40 years. iTi Health’s plectin imaging test will speed and simplify the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, while facilitating accurate treatment. We feel that iTi Health’s life science knowledge also attests to the company’s potential to generate exceptional economic returns for the Commonwealth.”
Since its 2005 launch, CIT GAP Funds has placed over 60 investments across the Commonwealth, deploying more than $5M of public funds and attracting greater than $10 dollars of private funding for every $1 of public money invested. (For a list of portfolio companies, please visit the GAP Funds website.)
About the Center for Innovative Technology, http://www.cit.org
CIT is a nonprofit corporation that accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies. CIT creates new technology companies through capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology startup companies and advanced technology consumers.
About the CIT GAP Funds, http://www.citgapfunds.org
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as: New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources.