High-tech company based on UH research launches amid high interest

University of Hawaiʻi
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Dir of Communications and Outreach, University of Hawaii Innovation Initiative
Posted: Mar 10, 2013

*Photos, video and sound are available for this story.  More information at bottom of news release.

HONOLULU – An early stage medical device company currently focused on motion-correction technologies for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), based on research developed by the University of Hawai‘i and its partners, announced today the successful completion of a $700,000 first round of venture financing and the resulting formal launch of KinetiCor Inc.

KinetiCor’s vision is to bring razor-sharp clarity to medical imaging.  The company is initially focused on commercializing its state-of-the-art motion correction technology for MRI, invented by Thomas Ernst, a physicist at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), along with colleagues from the U.S. and Germany.  This breakthrough technology enables remarkably accurate scans with correction of motion as subtle as normal breathing. 

The new technology involves a marker that is placed on the patientʻs head and allows the imaging to track and adjust to the patientʻs movements. KinetiCor’s technology is particularly useful for patients who are unable to control their movement during a scan, such as children and the elderly, and those with head trauma, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.  The technology reduces the need to sedate patients and to repeat scans. The company’s technology is currently for research purposes only and has not been cleared by the FDA for clinical use.

“We are very proud to have the support of three premier Hawai‘i institutions, the University of Hawai‘i Foundation’s Upside Fund, the Hawaii Medical Service Association and the Queen's Development Corporation, as equity investors in KinetiCor,” said Dr. Jeffrey Yu, President and CEO of KinetiCor.  “We believe KinetiCor has harnessed a game-changing technology that can revolutionize the way MRIs are performed and will allow for consistent quality.”

Prior to its launch, KinetiCor licensed intellectual property developed by the University of Hawaii, the Queens Medical Center, the University of Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

University of Hawai‘i Foundation Upside Fund Managing Director Barry Weinman said, “The UH Foundation Upside Fund was intrigued by KinetiCor, not only for its extraordinary technology, but because of the huge financial upside that could be achieved by commercializing UH's intellectual property. More than $2 billion globally a year is wasted by having to re-do MRI scans because the patient moves and blurs the images. Dr. Ernst and the JABSOM Neuroscience and Magnetic Research Team, in collaboration with two other universities, have solved the problem of blurry images. This will not only save significant money but will enable MRI machines to be able to diagnose conditions that they can't today.”

KinetiCor has achieved early sales traction of its highly advanced prospective motion correction research prototypes at leading magnetic resonance research centers, including the University of Minnesota’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CMRR), and Washington University in Saint Louis, in support of these institutions’ affiliation with the National Institute of Health’s Human Connectome Project.  The company has numerous other world-renowned MR research centers in its research sales pipeline, and has received interest from several manufacturers of MRI systems to incorporate the company’s highly advanced motion correction technology into MR scanners.

“We are aggressively working to expand our intellectual property portfolio to further protect our market leadership position in motion correction, and recently received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office of an expanded patent. This is being further augmented by other intellectual property in development at KinetiCor,” Yu said. 

University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood said, “We are very pleased to see the strong progression and promise of a technology developed through UH research.  It is validation of the importance of the University of Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative or HI2, which seeks to double Hawaii’s research enterprise over the next decade.  This is an effort which is vital to the economic future of our state, and for which we need the support of the community.”

More information about the University of Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative is available online at http://hawaii.edu/innovation 

For more information on KinetiCor, please contact Mr. Will Alameida, Chief Operating Officer, KinetiCor, Inc. Phone:  (808)-366-0333; Email: will.alameida@kineticor.com, or visit the company’s website:  www.kineticor.co



Link to download video and sound:



B-ROLL (TRT- 1:29):

Various shots of the MRI procedure including two shots of the marker being applied to the patient’s head (2nd and 3rd shots of the b-roll) and the marker being tracked by a computer (2nd shot of the video of the computer monitors at the 1:10 point of the video).


Thomas Ernst - Professor, University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (11 seconds)

"It takes about five to ten minutes to acquire one single scan of the brain let’s say. So if you just move a very small amount, the images get blurry."

Dr. Jeffrey Yu - KinetiCor CEO (12 seconds)

"What are technology does, is it basically allows the MR scanner to track along with you while you as a patient are moving within a scanner and eliminates the blurring that occurs in the images."

Yu (8 seconds)

"You know in children, they have to undergo sedation, a lot of times to hold still enough. We can reduce or even get rid of the need for sedation."

Ernst (5 seconds)

"Invented in Hawaii and hopefully .you know, it could be in thousand of scanners, hopefully, in the long term."

Yu (13 seconds)

"We’ve got another two years probably to get this fully into the market and then if we can get adoption, then, you know, I think another seven years pass that we hopefully we can get a large part of the market."



Various images are available for download at: