Morgantown-based biotechnology firm IstoVisio Inc., developer of scientific data visualization and annotation system “syGlass”, announced it has been accepted into the prestigious University of California at Berkeley SkyDeck Accelerator program.

The company is one of 26 firms to be accepted into the program out of 1,600 applicants.

IstoVisio will receive a $100,000 investment from the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, will be paired with key advisors, go through the six-month Berkeley Acceleration Method Program, and receive guided access to the SkyDeck community including Silicon Valley investors and venture funds.

Since 2012, companies affiliated with SkyDeck have raised $1.2 billion.

“This is a major step forward for our company and a validation of our syGlass system, which is a technology that allows massive images to be viewed in high-res virtual reality,” said Michael Morehead, Chief Executive Officer of IstoVisio.

“syGlass allows users to view 3D image stacks, like CT, MR, and PET scans inside of an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment. Inside of syGlass, these scans are stacked up to represent the original 3D object and appear as a hologram to the user. Exploring this data in VR allows new insights previously unseen on 2D monitors.”

Morehead announced the firm has also been awarded a Direct-to-Phase II, 2-year, $1.6 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant through the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative.

Under the grant, IstoVisio will conduct research and develop products that dramatically increase useful yield of 3D microscopy. The goals will bring state-of-the-art technologies to every step of the image acquisition and processing pipeline.

Under the SBIR program, intellectual property garnered through the research is the property of IstoVisio and can be commercialized for the company’s use.

The company’s syGlass technology is now used in more than 100 international research institutions, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Institute de la Vision in Paris, and multiple Max Planck institutions. The company also received the 2019 Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry Award for sales to the following new countries: Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

IstoVisio has an agreement with Epica International, an upcoming CT and Robotics company, to include syGlass with their scanners in the veterinary medicine market. Epica will soon be cleared by the FDA to sell scanners into the human market and seeks an additional agreement with IstoVisio to pair the software with their scanners.

IstoVisio has also partnered with Ector County ISD (Odessa Texas) to bring syGlass to the K-12 market. Ector is purchasing 4 copies to connect their students with ongoing scientific research studies. The students will annotate data for the scientists, and get to experience cutting-edge research work, all in virtual reality. The project will also include creating a data storefront, where students can purchase virtual reality movies of the data for learning at home, like the iTunes model.

Since its founding in 2015, the company has worked with a host of West Virginia assistance providers to help it grow and evolve its technology and manage business development.

The INNOVA Commercialization Group and WV Jobs Investment Trust were early investors in IstoVisio, providing commercialization assistance and strategic planning.

“IstoVisio is one of the bright shining lights whose current, and future, success will highlight the transformative technological medical device and diagnostic sector initiatives launching in West Virginia,” said Guy Peduto, Director of INNOVA.

Andy Zulauf, Executive Director of the WV Jobs Investment Trust, stated, “IstoVisio has grown from a West Virginia-based company into a regional and national player in the medical/diagnostic technology space. The executive leadership of this company has done an outstanding job with executing on their vision and strategy. We look forward to supporting their efforts with these new exciting initiatives and collaborations.”
West Virginia University John Chambers School of Business contributed to business research and planning with follow-on funding provided by the WVU Research Corporation. TechConnect West Virginia was an aggregator of technical and professional funds procured through the US EDA and investment and commercialization funds were also provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

For additional information, contact Michael Morehead at (304) 677 3045 or email at [email protected].