This article was written by Michael Bochoff, Marketing & Communications Assistant at Innovacorp.

As one of four companies selected for the inaugural cohort of Innovacorp’s MedTech Accelerate Program, Audioptics Medical has developed a technology enabling them to see through the eardrum to diagnose diseases in the middle ear. For co-founders Rob Adamson, assistant professor in biomedical and electrical engineering, and Dan MacDougall, PhD student, it comes down to simple mathematics. 

 “The ear is a unique part of the body – it’s easy to understand because it’s all about geometry and how it’s arranged,” said Dan. “Almost all of the problems you run into with the ear have to do with that.”

The duo has created an endoscope for use in clinical otology examinations capable of seeing through the eardrum and into the middle ear. The endoscope, referred to as Ossiview, can image both the morphology of middle ear structures and their vibration in response to sound. Typically, otologists have to make diagnoses and surgical treatment decisions on the basis of patient symptoms because imaging modality for the middle ear can often be invasive. 

“There was a lot of trial and error to get to the current prototype,” said Dan. “We really wanted to bring end-users in early. It’s hard to understand how useful that is and how much time that can save you to get as much feedback as possible.”

Funding much of the project themselves, the pair is currently in the engineering prototype phase of development, with the goal of bringing Ossivew to market by 2020. 

“There’s a collaborative health research program grant that’s funding the academic side, and the commercialization side of the research has been funded primarily by Innovacorp, as well as ACOA,” said Rob. 

Audioptics has hired two new team members, with two additional people working in the lab. According to Rob, no other company offers a non-invasive clinical imaging system like this, and he claims there’s still a long way to go.

“The engineering development is continuing – we have to go from this prototype to a final product and there’s a lot of stages to that,” said Rob. “We're using the system on patients and have been for almost two years now. An important task for us is to validate the use of the device to show that it can actually diagnose diseases and has clinical efficacy.”

Learn more about the 2018-2019 Accelerate Program.

September 6, 2018, Halifax, Nova Scotia