Dr. Benaron Benaron
Dr. Christopher Contag
Dr. Pamela Contag
Medical Imaging Technologies
TSC MEMBER INSTITUTION(S):
Department of Defense
National Institutes of Health
Caliper Life Sciences
ABOUT THE COMPANY:
With a goal to detect and quantify cell growth and migration in living animals, Stanford University investigators Pamela Contag, David Benaron, and Christopher Contag, co-founded Xenogen in 1994. The company became the world leader in “in vivo” optical imaging and was sold to Caliper Life Sciences in 2006.
At the time Xenogen was conceived, there was a general view that optics lacked the sensitivity and reproducibility required for commercial drug discovery. Company founders credit federal funding from the Department of Defense – which came at a critical early phase of their work – for the fact that today nearly every medical center in the United States uses Xenogen’s methods of optical labeling, tracking, and imaging as part of its biomedical research program.
The Xenogen IVIS® systems are the most sensitive available—for both fluorescence and bioluminescence in vivo imaging. IVIS molecular imaging systems are designed to detect optical signals linked to cell growth and disease pathways in order to reveal mechanisms of action, and evaluate the efficacy of drugs by monitoring their effects on disease progression in living animals.
This technology uses optical tags, such as bioluminescence and fluorescence, to detect and track stem cells, cancer cells, pathogens and normal cellular functions in living hosts. The initial demonstration of the power of this technology was shown by the Stanford investigators using engineered microorganisms with genes-encoding bioluminescent enzymes inside a living animal where the light they emitted was observable with a digital camera outside the body. These images demonstrated that the course of infection and the response to therapy could be assessed noninvasively. The new approach had broad applicability, including in the areas of oncology, physiology, stem cell biology, immunology, and of particular relevance to the Department of Defense, regenerative medicine and infectious disease.
UNIVERSITY-BASED RESEARCH CONNECTION:
The technology behind Xenogen was developed by Pamela Contag in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, David Benaron, Professor of Pediatrics, and Christopher Contag, currently professor of Pediatrics, Radiology and Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. The Stanford Office of Technology Licensing licensed the invention to Xenogen in 1996. Xenogen went public in 2004 and was acquired by Caliper Life Sciences in 2006. Caliper sells biophotonic real-time in vivo imaging technologies and has extensively sublicensed the Stanford University patents to pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
ROLE OF FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDING:
Development of the technology was initially supported by grants from the Department of Defense through the Office of Naval Research to Stanford University and Xenogen and grants from the National Institutes of Health to Stanford University.
Read The Full Report Here