Emerging Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
► Amit Bhattacharya
Professor, Environmental Health
College of Medicine
Amit Bhattacharya, PhD, is doing something about the staggering price of health care in the United States: He played a key role in developing a tool that could make a serious dent in the $20 billion in annual direct costs associated with osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones to the point that they become fragile and break easily.
Bhattacharya, a professor in the department of environmental health’s division of environmental and occupational hygiene, teamed with Nelson Watts, MD, a UC College of Medicine faculty member until January 2012, to develop a technology called Bone Shock Absorbance, which uses small devices called accelerometers attached to the patient’s body to measure how energy from a heel strike is absorbed and dissipated through the musculoskeletal system.
This painless, non-invasive 10-minute test represents an advance over the current “gold standard” of predicting osteoporosis by using bone mineral density measured with X-ray technology, which is done while the patient is at rest and leads to inappropriate or insufficient treatments. Bhattacharya and Watts licensed the technology from UC and formed the company OsteoDynamics, Inc. with the goal of commercializing it. Toward that end, the company has secured more than $550,000 in financial support through grants and equity investments.
In November 2012, Bhattacharya was awarded a $40,000 grant through the UC Provost’s Pilot Research Program, one of four programs of the College of Medicine’s $1 million Discovery Acceleration Initiative. This award will help test technical and scientific enhancements of the technology.