PAVmed licenses cell-sampling device, test to diagnose Barrett’s esophagus

PAVmed has licensed a device to detect a precursor to esophageal cancer and set up a subsidiary to take it to market. The subsidiary, Lucid Diagnostics, hopes to start selling the device in the U.S. next year.

New York-based PAVmed has picked up the device from Case Western Reserve University, which put it through a 149-patient clinical trial before outlicensing the technology. The trial supported the idea that an encapsulated balloon can quickly gather samples from the distal esophagus when swallowed. Analysis of the samples detected Barrett’s esophagus with around 90% specificity and sensitivity.

That was enough to attract the attention of PAVmed, which has acquired the global rights to the cell-sampling device and associated DNA biomarker test. PAVmed has given up a minority stake in Lucid in exchange for the rights.

Case Western and other academic medical centers are now enrolling patients in an NIH study of the device to assess its effectiveness as a screening tool. If the trial shows that the device, EsoCheck, can take samples from patients in five minutes and use them to diagnose Barrett’s esophagus, it could enable doctors to more easily screen for a disease that is associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Seeing that potential, PAVmed has started dreaming big. 

“Based on the dramatic results of the recently published multicenter clinical study, we believe widespread EsoCheck screening has the potential to have as great an impact on esophageal cancer as widespread Pap screening has had in preventing cervical cancer, targeting an estimated immediately addressable domestic market of several billion dollars,” PAVmed CEO CEO Lishan Aklog, M.D., said in a statement.

PAVmed revealed it had signed a letter of intent with the university last month, but at that stage it had yet to finalize the terms of the deal.