Entry By:

Double Helix, USA

Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society. How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
Our technology, 3D super-resolution imaging, enables scientists and those working in drug development to see inside of cells and subcellular structures down to the molecular level in 3D. A key reason for high failure of drug development (85%) and high costs (>$1B) has been the inability to see the cell structure of the disease or the impact of a drug on its target.  Providing unprecedented imaging detail and accuracy, we enable scientists to see biology that would otherwise be missed, gaining insight into how disease processes unfold. This same technology is a valuable tool for validation and verification of mechanisms of action in precision medicine and drug development by allowing teams to actually see how a drug impacts its target.  Accelerating discovery of disease and enabling earlier verification and validation of the efficacy of drug therapies in development process will have significant societal and economic impact, accelerating time to market and significantly reducing cost.
Tell us about how your technology is unique? What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
Super-resolution overcomes the diffraction limit of light that limited light microscopy image resolution to ~200nm and was recognized for its impact with the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Using super-resolution, the position information for individual molecules is captured to create an image with 10x resolution (~20 nm) improvement. Double Helix extends super-resolution to the next level by extending it to the third dimension.  Professor Rafael Piestun, co-founder of the company, invented this technique by modifying the response of the imaging system such that the image of each super-resolved molecule splits into two lobes with the center of the lobes corresponding to its 2D position and the orientation between them the depth information. Our technology offers more than twice the depth capability of any commercially available super resolution tool at 1/8th the cost. An alternative to EM which requires cells to be frozen or dead, our technology allows for live cell imaging in 3D.
When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or was it an advancement of the prior art? Describe this.
Our technology is an advancement of 2D super-resolution imaging (nanoscopy).  Super-resolution imaging for life sciences is a relatively new invention, with first papers published in 2006.  This optical imaging technique has only recently been commercialized and is now available through the purchase of a specialized microscope system costing more than $500K.  Double Helix extends super-resolution microscopy into 3D.  As all biological processes are inherently 3D, enabling imaging of entire structure allows discovery of new biology that 2D super-resolution cannot. This ability to see, measure and study the entire cell structure at its core construct opens a range of opportunity for disease discovery and drug development.
Give a specific example of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer. Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user.
We sell our product directly and through a distributor network as an add-on module to hundreds of thousands of fluorescent microscopes found in tens of thousands of academic and commercial research labs around the world today.  Our technology is designed as an easy to install, maintain and use upgrade instrument attached to the camera port of the microscope and requires no alteration to the customer’s existing microscope system.
In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?
Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
We provide unprecedented 3D precision imaging capability for disease discovery and drug development. 3D superresolution imaging will become the scientist’s tool of choice as it allows users to see biology at the molecular level never seen before leading to faster cheaper and better drug development.
Surprise Us! What else should we know about your product/technology?
Our technology extends beyond life sciences to imaging extended objects in 3D. Our 3D sensor system is flexible to use both indoors and outdoors and for both close (millimeters) and long range imaging (meters). This patented technology replaces need for high powered lasers and specialized sensors needed for ToF and the multiple cameras for stereovision. Designed for small footprint and low cost, the sensor has potential to be integrated into a range of advanced manufacturing systems.
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