NeuroCog Trials, a Durham, N.C.-based cognitive services provider for the clinical trials industry, has received a 2012 phase II grant from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), for the validation and commercialization of its Virtual Reality Functional Capacity Assessment Tool (VRFCAT).
NeuroCog Trials had already successfully completed phase I of this project involving the development of the VRFCAT in collaboration with Virtual Heroes, a division of Applied Research Associates.
"Following our early success with the VRFCAT, we set out to secure additional funding to support its validation and commercialization. We aim for the VRFCAT to be used as a reliable tool in clinical trials to measure changes in functional capacity associated with the pro-cognitive effects of novel drugs for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease and other diseases,” said Richard Keefe, founder and CEO of NeuroCog Trials.
The VRFCAT is a novel virtual reality measure that assesses patients' ability to navigate a variety of daily challenges using realistic, simulated environments.
"The VRFCAT fits into our strategic growth plan involving the development of a cutting edge computerized assessment tool with a game-like feel to increase patient interest and adherence,” said Caren Gadigian, president of NeuroCog Trials. “The VRFCAT expands our assessment portfolio from traditional paper and pencil neurocognitive measures and our Computerized Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (C-BACS) developed for the iPad platform, to now include this virtual reality tool."
The SBIR grant evaluation process considers the degree of innovation, qualifications of the principal investigator and other key staff, the soundness and technical merit of the proposal research and the potential for commercial applications. Special consideration is given to the originality of the proposal in solving technological challenges.