Gentex is partnering with an artificial intelligence medical imaging company to bring to market technology for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
Zeeland-based manufacturer Gentex Corporation said this week it is partnering with Toronto-based RetiSpec Inc. to engineer, manufacture and commercialize technology that can detect disease biomarkers in the human eye.
Gentex specializes in the production of electro-optical products for a wide variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, fire protection and medical.
“The Gentex-RetiSpec partnership reinforces our commitment to bring to market RetiSpec’s novel retinal imaging technology, a widely scalable and affordable way to accurately detect Alzheimer’s disease at both the symptomatic and pre-symptomatic stages,” said Eliav Shaked, CEO of RetiSpec. “We are excited about the prospect of partnering with Gentex and leveraging its vast expertise and innovative technologies in machine vision, imaging and electronics manufacturing.”
Gentex is best known for supplying electronic components to the automotive industry that utilize the company’s proficiencies in microelectronics, engineering, software design and chemical development. The company annually integrates millions of cameras and digital light sensors into its products. As a technology company, though, Gentex is expanding its capabilities into new markets, having recently launched the development of a medical smart lighting system that uses machine vision to dramatically improve illumination during surgical procedures.
“We’re delighted to partner with the team at RetiSpec,” said Robert Vance, Gentex’s vice president of new markets. “RetiSpec and Gentex share core values of using technology to make a positive difference, and as we expand our presence in the medical space, we look forward to building a strong partnership and applying our own capabilities in electro-optics and digital vision to build on RetiSpec’s technology and global IP portfolio in its pursuit of commercializing early and accessible Alzheimer’s detection.”
By harnessing hyperspectral imagery, RetiSpec’s patented technology allows for the rapid, simple and cost-effective identification of Alzheimer’s biomarkers years before the emergence of clinical symptoms. In preclinical and feasibility studies, the retinal imaging technology was effective in detecting small changes in biomarkers associated with elevated cerebral amyloid beta levels early in the disease process, including before the onset of clinical symptoms.
RetiSpec’s test can be performed fully on-site and seamlessly integrated into clinical workflow to streamline decision-making, offering significant potential savings to the health care system and increasing the efficiency of therapeutic clinical trials.
RetiSpec already has clinical partnerships with medical centers across the U.S. and Canada to make its Alzheimer’s test available for research purposes.
Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation (Nasdaq: GNTX) is a supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and electronics to the automotive industry, dimmable aircraft windows for aviation markets, fire protection products to the fire protection market and is also branching out into med tech.
Founded in 2016, RetiSpec is an AI medical imaging company with a platform that draws on technology developed by Robert Vince and Swati More at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Drug Design. In 2018, the University of Minnesota and RetiSpec announced a collaboration and licensing agreement to integrate its Alzheimer’s disease technology into RetiSpec’s platform.
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Diagnostic Accelerator program then gave RetiSpec the task of accelerating commercialization of its retinal imaging technology.