BME spinout company SonoVol Inc. was acquired by PerkinElmer (NYSE:PKI) last February 7, 2022. SonoVol was co-founded in 2012 by then-graduate student, Dr. Ryan Gessner (Ph.D. 2013), and his graduate school mentor, recently appointed BME Chair, Dr. Paul Dayton. Originally launched as a NEO company from the UNC Kickstart program (now called Kickstart Venture Services), SonoVol specializes in high-performance ultrasound and multi-modality imaging systems for the life science tools market. Their product offerings will complement and extend PerkinElmer’s existing portfolio of in vivo imaging instruments and reagents, including the industry-leading IVIS optical preclinical imaging platform.
Dr. Gessner developed the concept for the company after spending many hours during his Ph.D. studies in the Dayton lab using hand-held ultrasound systems with a limited 2-D field of view and knew there had to be an easier way of providing disease researchers with critically important data. Dr. Gessner’s vision was to “use robotics to allow a 3D tissue imaging system as easy to operate as a Xerox® machine”, enabling a straightforward biomedical imaging workflow for non-imaging experts. SonoVol received early funding from intramural research grants and later received federal research funding from the NSF and NIH SBIR programs. In 2018, the SonoVol team commercialized their first product, the Vega, a benchtop robotic 3D ultrasound scanning system for preclinical disease research applications.
Co-founder and BME Chair Paul Dayton states that “SonoVol is an example of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit cultivated by the UNC and NC State Joint BME Department.” Most of the other SonoVol team members are also UNC-NSCU BME alumni, including: Tomek Czernuszewicz (Ph.D. 2015), Juan Rojas (Ph.D, 2018), Chris Moore (Ph.D. 2019), Nathan Beaumont (B.S. 2018), Max Harlacher (B.S. 2015), and James Butler (B.S. 2015). The Joint BME Department congratulates the SonoVol team for this successful venture and looks forwards to future exciting commercialization events from our faculty and students! To read the official announcement, visit Sonovol’s LinkedIn post here.