Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ERMOS Report Summary

Project ID: 671873

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ERMOS (Enhanced Resolution MRI Ocular Scanner (ERMOS))

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The objective project “Enhanced Resolution MRI Ocular Scanner- ERMOS) is to show the feasibility of an innovative low cost, high resolution, dedicated scanner, to be used for ocular MRI, based on a very compact 0.2T permanent magnet, on a specifically designed proprietary electronics and on a high temperature super-conducting (HTS) multi-coil receiver. Specific objectives of Phase 1 were:
1. Obtaining IP protection.
2. Elaborate a business plan for the production and commercialization of the device under different hypothesis.
3. Contact possible partners (subcontractors) for clinical testing of the device.
4. Contact companies that could be involved in the commercialization of ERMOS in different markets.
5. Contact academic partners that, in the form of subcontractors, could contribute to increase the diagnostic value of ERMOS by studying specific sequences.

Two patents have been filed at the Italian Patent Office one related to a MRI system dedicated to ocular MRI and the second to the design and the shimming techniques of a permanent magnet that could be used for the head and for different dedicated applications.
We have elaborated a business plan for the product in two different hypothesis, the first in which ITAsrl starts the commercialization by itself, the second in case of a cooperation with a company active in the ophthalmic market. We have contacted and agreed for cooperation in a phase 2 project of an academic team for sequence development and of a clinical team, which is an excellence centre for ophthalmic care and surgery. We have contacted a small company with a large experience in vacuum and cryogenic application that agreed to cooperate at the end of phase 2 for the production of the cryogenic receiver.
Furthermore we have contacted a large company active in the ophthalmic market which is very interested in the development of ERMOS and that would be the possible partner for the worldwide commercialization of ERMOS.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

1. Obtaining IP protection
We have performed a thorough analysis of the patent literature and we have verified that there are no patents describing a device specifically designed for ocular MRI. We have then filed with the Italian Patent Office a patent that describes the system specially developed for applications in ophthalmology titled: "Apparatus based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dedicated to high resolution observation of the human eye comprising compact magnet, receiver antenna and multiple hardware and software techniques for decoupling of the antennas and the cancellation of ambient noise and software decoupling of the antennas and the cancellation of ambient noise."
We have devised and filed a patent for a construction modality and shimming of a magnet for clinical use using cylindrical rings of Halbach which allows to obtain a homogeneous field in a region, internal to the magnet, of linear dimensions equal to about 40% the size of the magnet. The magnet is constructed using blocks of identical size magnetized along a direction perpendicular to one of the side surfaces of the cylinder. The magnet is obtained by using 6 Halbach rings each composed of 16 cylindrical blocks of esadecagonal base. Also in this case the patent has been filed at the UIB under the title “Magnet for clinical diagnostics using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI ) consists of cylindrical rings of type Halbach : construction methods and techniques to obtain a homogeneous magnetic field in a large fraction of the internal volume of the magnet”.
2. Elaborate a business plan for the product
The business plan has been elaborated with the help of an expert in business administration. It has been built as an instrument that the company can use also during the development of the project to monitor at any moment the economical viability of the situation.
3. Contacted Clinical Team for testing
The selected clinical facility is the Ophthalmology Clinical of the University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara.
It is one of the more important centres in Italy and is willing to cooperate for the ERMOS development in a Phase 2 project.
4. Contacted an academic team for sequence development
The academic partner will be the Medical Physics Group in L’Aquila University that has years of experience in the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In the past the group have been leaded by Prof. Sotgiu, the actual CEO of ITAsrl, and there is a record of fruitful cooperation. This guaranties a good coordinations of the activities for a Phase 2 project.
5. Contacted a company that could be involved in the commercialization of ERMOS in different markets
In order to have the possibility to have a worldwide distribution of ERMOS we contacted the Italian company Nidek Technologies srl which is a subsidiary of the Japanese Nidek Co Ltd. This company is specialized in research, development and production of high-technology diagnostic instruments and informatics systems for the ophthalmology sector.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

At the end of the 6 months project the following results have been reached:
1. We have gained a better understanding on the way in which some of the technical features of ERMOS can be exploited.
2. We have set up a group of entities of academic, industrial and clinical nature which are willing to cooperate with ITAsrl for the development of ERMOS.
3. We have started the process of protecting ERMOS by patent. This process will continue during phase 2.

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