ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Health and medicine in New York State have led to many medical advancements and as a result, spinoff companies. iCardiac is one of those, created at the University of Rochester.
"They are a phenomenal, truly world-class research organization and as a result of that, there are spinoff companies that get created, such as iCardiac that often times will serve the much broader region," said Alex Zapesochny, iCardiac Technologies president and COO.
iCardiac was started seven years ago after researchers at the University of Rochester developed a complex mathematical model of the human heart. Scientists plug in preclinical research and animal trial data to predict what effect certain drugs will have on the heart.
The FDA was one of the first groups interested in the technology.
"Some of the drugs that were pulled for heart safety were things for allergies and diet medication, pretty standard stuff," said Zapesochny.
iCardiac is now used by many of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
"This technology is used to really find out if a drug can be toxic or not, so obviously, if you avoid to put a drug that can be toxic on the market, you will save a lot of lives. On the other hand, if you allow a drug to reach the market because it's not toxic and helps people, it can also save a lot of lives," said Jean-Philippe Couderc, Ph.D, a URMC biomedical engineer who developed the iCardiac software.
"iCardiac helped to run a very important study that's changing the regulatory landscape about how drugs are developed and tested. So we've had a huge impact not far outside of Rochester, and even far outside the United States," said Zapesochny.
The economic effect of these spin offs to Rochester and the greater upstate New York region is unmistakable. iCardiac alone employs 87 people, the majority of whom reside in the greater Rochester area.
"The headquarters is here and certainly the economic impact from these customers, these pharmaceutical customers who pay us, that comes back here to Rochester. Those jobs and those dollars are spent here in Rochester," said Zapesochny.
Right now, iCardiac is working on the next generation of technology to improve predictions, and, of course, this is just one example of the many medical spin offs created in upstate New York.