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  • Cascade Technologies – Reinvented and Making all the Right Moves 0 comments
    Nov 24, 2010 10:34 AM | about stocks: SSKN, ARAY, VAR, PRSN, HOLX, TOMO, BVX, PHMD, ICAD, SONO

    Cascade Technologies Corporation (OTCBB:  CSDT) reinvented itself in March 2010 with its acquisition of Spectral Molecular Imaging, Inc. (NYSE:SMI), a medical diagnostic imaging company.  SMI at the time was developing its initial product, SkinSpect™, aimed at early detection of melanoma by the company's proprietary form of hyperspectral imaging.  With this acquisition Cascade Tech has plunged into the medical diagnostic field head-first and has been making key moves to advance the technology and its new lead product.  These moves include an accelerated time-frame for the SkinSpect device completion, addition of key personnel and additional funding to move the project closer to FDA trials and marketing.

    Since its acquisition, SMI has completed the SkinSpect device which was introduced to colleagues on September  29th and to the public via a press release which was issued on October 7th.  At the unveiling Dr. Erik Lindsley, President of SMI, stated that SkinSpect "incorporates advances in hyperspectral imaging, autofluorescence measurement and polarization-gated detection achieved by SMI researchers and consultants through experiences cumulatively reaching more than 100 years. The software controlling image acquisition and handling is completely new, driven by an intuitive touch screen interface and allowing effortless data and patient monitoring, image archiving and analysis, and internet-based data transfer and tele-consults; its design is compliant with and conducive to electronic medical record generation and tracking."

    Key to the company’s future and product line is its staff of all-star personnel, not the least of which is Dr. Daniel Farkas, chairman and CEO of SMI.  In a September 30th press release, Dr. Farkas was described as “very active in international meetings through the years, having presented about 200 invited and plenary talks, and having organized and chaired 25 international conferences, mostly in biomedical optics. Within the past year, he lectured at the European Biophysics Congress in Genova, Italy; at the Biomedical Optics Society conference in San Francisco; at the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic at UC Irvine; at the Electrochemical Society Meeting in Vancouver (two talks); at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology conference in Ft. Lauderdale; at the International Brain Mapping and Intraoperative Surgical Planning Society congress (New Horizons track) in Bethesda; at the World Congress of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in Las Vegas; at the Surgical Navigation division of Medtronic Corporation and in the University of Southern California Physical Sciences in Oncology Center Seminar Series. These talks, and the invitations to present them, reflect the diversity and interdisciplinary nature of the applications enabled by the ground-breaking optical bioimaging that constitutes the core of SMI's efforts, and the widespread interest, both scientific and clinical, that they elicit.”  Too many times in industry I’ve seen key personnel and the “brains” and developers of technology get pushed aside in the political mix-ups in management.  In this case, the key behind getting the product through development and into trials is the gentleman who is actually the CEO of the company, eliminating the bureaucratic “middle men”. 

    A key addition with regard to the technological advancement of the SkinSpect is its new Chief Technologist, Mr. Robert Chave.  Mr. Chave is a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer where he designed and developed instruments and sub-systems with opto-mechanical elements for the Mars Rovers, the James Webb and Hubble Space telescopes, and a U2 aircraft-based spectrometer for monitoring ozone degradation above the earth's poles.  While employed at JPL, he was principal investigator on a NASA Advanced Technology Development Grant in Low Temperature Science and Engineering. This research led to the invention of a magnetostrictive super-fluid helium valve, linear and rotary low temperature actuators and related tools with significance for condensed matter physics, astronomy and cryosurgery. Robert was Visiting Research Faculty in the Department of Materials Science at Caltech. This work lead to 12 NASA New Technology awards to him personally and over 20 awards to authors on the project in total. In 2000 he founded RCAppP Inc., a contract design firm that designs, builds and calibrates instruments for clients and end users who have included the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, and Homeland Security, NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratories, Caltech, and the Smithsonian Observatory, as well as private corporations, such as the Idealabs family of companies.  This information as well as additional biography on Robert Chave can be found on a press release from October 26th.

     Other personnel, though certainly not all, include another former Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee and now current Chief Scientist Dr. Greg Bearman; Dr. Erik Lindsley, President of SMI; Dr. Sam Raz, the new VP of International Business Development and a host of other all-star level people strategically placed in the corporation with pertinent backgrounds, degrees and levels of expertise.  In this corporation we see the “Doctor” title in many positions in everything from product development, software implementation and future marketing/current partnership searching (the latter in Dr. Sam Raz, please see PR on him for full potential impact of his expertise). 

    Key to the development of Cascade Technologies and SMI is the financing of its activities.  A November 9th announcement of a $190K grant from the IRS and Department of Health and Human Services certainly bodes well for the company’s finances as well as speaks volumes about the departments’ views of the potential of SkinSpect.  “The QTDP grant program provides support for innovative projects that are determined by the USDHHS to have reasonable potential to result in a new therapy, reduce health care costs, or significantly advance the goal of curing cancer.” 

    In future articles we will discuss MELA Sciences (NASDAQ: MELA), and its MelaFind handheld imaging device and its impact on Cascade Technologies and SMI’s SkinSpect device.  The primary focus will be on the FDA Panel’s narrow vote of approval for its device and how SMI views the product.  We will also be discussing Cascade Technologies’ recent letter of intent to acquire the assets of AcuNetx, a company that develops and markets non-invasive optical imaging devices for the eyes.  A simple look at the headlines for Cascade Technologies in Google Finance and gives one a sense of how fervently and methodically Cascade Technologies’ SMI division is working under new ownership.  Have a long look at Cascade Technologies, and add it to your medical device company watch list to see how its future unfolds.  Skin cancer is very prevalent, and its early diagnosis is key to increasing survival, decreasing scarring associated with surgery and keeping healthcare costs down.  SMI’s SkinSpect device could potentially become another tool in the arsenal against dermal cancers.  Please see the following facts from  

    • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases in two million people are diagnosed annually.
    • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
    • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
    • Basal cell carcinoma (NYSE:BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million BCCs are diagnosed annually in the US.   BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma (NYSEARCA:SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.
    • Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two major forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either skin cancer at least once.
    • In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers was more than $1 billion.

    Disclosure: Long
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