USF Research News

With USF-developed technology, Ovation Diagnostics is awarded funding from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research

October 31, 2016

University of South Florida professor developed the non-invasive diagnostic method to screen for deadly cancer

TAMPA, Fla. – Ovation Diagnostics has been awarded funding from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (the Institute) for ovarian screening technology developed at the University of South Florida. It is the only non-invasive ovarian cancer diagnostic in development now.

While studying molecular changes responsible for early stages of ovarian cancer, Dr. Patricia Kruk, professor of pathology and cell biology at the Morsani College of Medicine, USF Health, discovered that the level of a protein in urine called Bcl-2 is ten times higher in women with ovarian cancer than it is in healthy women. Kruk developed a diagnostic method to screen for ovarian cancer measuring the urinary levels of Bcl-2.

Ovation Diagnostics has exclusively licensed this patented technology from USF and is developing a diagnostic test which will offer women an efficient, noninvasive and affordable process of detection. The company’s simple urine sample method has a potentially higher specificity and sensitivity for ovarian cancer compared to existing methods of detection.

“A majority of existing tests lack the ability to accurately detect ovarian cancer in its early stages which results in lower survival rates,” said Joseph E. Zack, Ovation Diagnostics President. “Our hope is that this test will make a difference in earlier detection and help save lives.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer induced death among women in the U.S.

The Institute supports new company creation based on publicly-funded research, and bridges early funding gaps for companies spinning out of Florida-based universities and research institutions.

“We are so pleased to have received this funding from the Institute,” said Zack. “Having their support helps us to advance our test for ovarian cancer and work towards commercialization.”

About Ovation Diagnostics
Ovation Diagnostics, is focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of a novel ovarian cancer diagnostic test, to be used in the screening, prognosis, therapy selection, and monitoring of ovarian cancer. The company was founded in 2014, and the licensing agreement was also secured from University of South Florida in 2014.

About the Institute
Formed by the Florida Legislature in 2007, the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with the technology licensing and commercialization offices of Florida's state universities and private research institutions to leverage a $2B+ research base and form investable companies that create clean jobs in new industries that are driving the global economy. With funding from the State of Florida through the Department of Economic Opportunity, and through the generosity of mentors, advisors and donors, the Institute provides company building services, and seed funding through the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund, to promising Florida startups. Fifty-five companies have been funded to date, and the Institute's economic impact through June 30, 2015 was $379 million, a return on investment of 14 times to the State of Florida.

About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Media contact: Lauren Golin, 813-974-0102, lgolin@usf.edu