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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

UC Irvine's Beckman Laser Institute medical technology incubator forms first corporate partnership


Newport Corp., UCI Researchers to Jointly Develop Advanced Laser Products


Irvine, Calif., September 3, 1998 UC Irvine's Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic has announced that Irvine-based Newport Corp., a manufacturer of high-precision optical components, instruments and systems, will be its first corporate partner in the photonics incubator program.

Under the agreement, Newport Corp. will provide a variety of new instruments and technology and work with Beckman Laser Institute researchers to develop new biomedical products.

The photonics incubator provides university resources for private firms to develop new medical products that convert light energy into powerful tools to diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases. The Beckman Laser Institute's incubator building is currently under construction and is due to be completed in February 1999.

Newport Corp. makes vibration-isolation tables, optical hardware, optics, positioning equipment and systems that are used for laser-based research and commercial applications.

Within the incubator program, Newport and Beckman Laser Institute researchers will collaborate in the development of optical coherence tomography systems, which are instruments that can look directly at blood as it flows through tissues deep below the surface of the skin. Eventually, these instruments may improve diagnostic accuracy by providing high-resolution pictures of blood, tiny blood vessels and surrounding tissues in the early stages of disease. In addition, the researchers also will work together on creating laser microscope devices that trap and manipulate cells. The system resulting from this research will be able to make precise, microsurgical alterations within single cells. The technology could be used to study many diseases, including cancer and circulatory disorders.

The Beckman Laser Institute photonics incubator was established by a $1 million grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce to help convert defense and other optical-based technologies to medical use. The new 12,000-square-foot expansion will include engineering development and biomedical testing labs, a clinical applications suite and program office space.

"This incubator is unique because it places product development and basic science research in close proximity to medical treatment facilities," said Michael Berns, director of the Beckman Laser Institute. "We're delighted to have Newport Corp. as our first incubator partner, and we look forward to many more productive relationships."

"We're pleased to be the photonics incubator's inaugural corporate partner," said Robert J. Phillippy, vice president of Newport Corp. "The incubator is an example of how academia and industry can work together. We are confident this collaboration will lead to some very beneficial developments."

The photonics incubator at the Beckman Laser Institute is just one example of the growth in partnerships between UCI and private corporations. University Research Park, which is now being developed by The Irvine Company on the western edge of campus, is attracting firms interested in working closely with UCI faculty and students. UCI's Irvine Biomedical Research Center, a cluster of buildings being developed near the research park, also will foster partnerships, enabling UCI researchers and companies to work together to find new ways to diagnose and treat disease. In addition, UCI's Office of Technology Alliance links faculty and new technology with companies that can collaborate in further development of new inventions and commercialization of research results.

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