Diagnostic Photonics, Inc. is a Chicago-based startup company founded in 2008 on technology pioneered at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. The company creates high-resolution imaging probes for cancer surgeons to help them operate better in nearly all cancer surgeries (lung, kidney, prostate, etc.) and to prevent the need for repeat cancer surgeries. Their product, the Foresee Imaging System, uses near-infrared light to provide physicians with a better view of tissue structure.

The company has partnered with manufacturers and vendors throughout the Chicago metropolitan area and aspires to export to markets where they have regulatory clearance. Their goal is to expand their global presence in the surgical oncology market, which is why they applied for and received the CRGC Export Grant.

In Europe, substantial clinical evidence of effectiveness is required before coverage is provided for a new medical device and purchase approval decisions are made on either a hospital-by-hospital basis (e.g., Germany) or on a national basis (e.g., the United Kingdom.) Due to this requirement, Diagnostic Photonics used the Metro Chicago Exports Grant Program funds for an assessment of their imaging probe and clinical trial plans by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which evaluates all new medical devices prior to their sale into the National Health Service (NHS.) Through this process, the company received positive feedback on clinical study plans, verified the scope and costs of the clinical problem in the UK and validated their economic cost models.

While the company is still in the initial stages of commercialization, the surgical oncology market for their device is estimated at $700 million in the United States and over $2 billion overseas, so they’re hopeful that exporting the product will be a key piece of their growth strategy.