NASA, mHealth company enter into commercial license agreement

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has entered into an exclusive license agreement with an mHealth company to commercialize mobile healthcare products derived from NASA's patented technology. The agreement with NASA, annnounced by Vantage Health, licenses the use of multiple patents relating to inventions in the fields of nanotechnology, chemical sensing, carbon nanotubes, medical diagnoses, environmental sensing and cell phone applications.

"Nanobeak and Vantage Health have been developing sensor based mobile applications based on patented NASA technology, for non-invasive disease screening at the earliest stages, to be implemented for point of care and individualized healthcare screening using a proprietary breathalyzer attached to a smartphone," states the announcement.

The sensor technology, which won the 2012 NASA Government Invention of the Year, has been deployed by the space agency to detect trace gases in the crew cabin on the International Space Station. The sensors have also been tested and used for such applications as trace chemical detection in planetary exploration, air monitoring, leak detection and hazardous agent detection using cell phones. In addition to NASA, other federal agencies are using sensors based on this technology to detect trace gases in various environments.

The five-year license agreement between Nanobeak and NASA has been sub-licensed to Vantage Health. The Redwood City, Calif.-based company will leverage sensor technology to focus on certain forms of disease screening and narcotics screening. Specifically, the first mobile health app is expected to be for lung cancer screening.

"By analyzing a person's breath print, the Vantage Health Sensor will provide low cost, non-invasive lung cancer screening for the earliest stages when there are more treatment options available for that person," said Jeremy Barbera, Chairman and CEO of Vantage Health, in a written statement. "There were more deaths in 2012 from lung cancer than from prostate, pancreas, breast and colon combined according to the American Cancer Society. The primary reason is that only 15 percent of lung cancer cases are screened at an early stage--85 percent are not."

The lung cancer screening app couldn't come at a better time. A study published this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research's mHealth and uHealth found that while trachea, bronchus, and lung cancers are the third cause of death in high-income countries they are one of the least researched diseases with regard to apps.

According to the announcement, Vantage Health is also focused on early screening of colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. Additionally, the company is developing mobile screening capabilities for medical adherence, heart failure, diabetes, tuberculosis, oxidative stress disorder, metabolic impairment, and HIV/AIDS.

Under the terms of the commercialization agreement, Vantage Health's mobile healthcare products must be manufactured "substantially" in the United States and are subject to certain annual royalty payments to NASA.

To learn more:
- read the announcement