Enabling Earlier Diagnosis

Imaging Technology Opens the Doors to New Global Markets

Canadian Company: Redlen Technologies

Israeli Company: Spectrum Dynamics

Sector: Life Sciences

Challenge

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 17 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year. This number is expected to surge to 23.6 million by 20305. The ability to detect and diagnose cardiovascular diseases before the onset of a heart attack or stroke can enable early treatment that saves lives. Physicians often use cardiac imaging devices to evaluate the structure and function of the heart, and diagnose and manage heart diseases. Many existing imaging technologies fail to deliver all the functionality required by physicians – and the comfort required by patients. This prompted leading Canadian and Israeli firms to combine their know-how and create the first cardiac camera of its kind.

Objective

This bilateral R&D project brought together:

  • Redlen Technologies, a leading Canadian manufacturer of high resolution Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) semiconductor radiation detectors, devices that are used to detect, track or identify high energy particles in high performance detection and imaging equipment; and
  • Spectrum Dynamics, part of the Biosensors International Group; this Israeli medical device company is dedicated to bringing clinicians state-of-the-art nuclear medicine systems and technology including advanced imaging products.

The partners integrated Redlen’s CZT radiation detectors inside a Spectrum heart scan imaging device called D-SPECT. The team incorporated nine rotating columns of Redlen CZT detectors into Spectrum Dynamics D-SPECT cardiac camera, creating the ability to focus on specific anatomical points in the body. It eliminates the need to rotate the structure that holds the camera or the patient when sampling the organ of interest. With low radiation, this flexible imaging increases patient safety and comfort. Moreover, it improves the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac issues and diseases.

Outcomes

Gilad Yoeli, Chief Financial Officer, Spectrum Dynamics, a part of Biosensors International Group

“This CIIRDF-supported innovation represents an important product for Spectrum. Over the last three years, we have sold multiple imaging systems to hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world that incorporate Redlen’s detectors, generating millions of dollars in sales. This is tremendous return on our CIIRDF-supported technology partnership. We established a strategic supplier relationship with Redlen in 2013 as their CZT detector differentiates our products. As there is a shortage of CZT worldwide, this agreement served as an important driver for Spectrum’s recent acquisition by Biosensors International Group. With the global market for cardiac cameras expected to grow significantly by 2018, we are well positioned to grow our share of this market year over year.”

Eric Erikson, Chief Financial Officer, Redlen Technologies

“CIIRDF provided critical seed funding that enabled Redlen to develop a gamma imaging module for applications in nuclear medicine. Redlen’s single high quality Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) crystal is at the core of these modules. Over the last four years, we have improved CZT quality and performance, reduced production cost, and increased yield by 50 percent to meet Spectrum’s order volumes. These efficiencies enabled us to pursue broader applications for our technology, and develop new products such as customized detectors for baggage scanning systems in airports. The impact of this CIIRDF project on Redlen is perhaps best illustrated by the growth of our detector business. In 2009, detectors comprised 20 percent of our sales. Today, they represent 60 percent of our total revenue generation. CIIRDF influenced all aspects of our technology and business development, and helped us to acquire additional investment including $3.2 million under Canada’s Western Innovation Initiative (WINN).”