With NIH grant, Springbok Analytics takes on rotator cuff injuries

Springbok Analytics, a Charlottesville medical data company that creates 3D models from X-rays and MRIs, has received a $1.7 million government grant to develop a commercially viable algorithm that can detect and diagnose shoulder injuriesThe grant, announced Tuesday, comes from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research grant program. It follows a $51,409 grant the company received from the NIH in 2022 to start its R&D on the project.

Springbok will work with research partners at the University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin and the San Antonio Orthopedic Group on AI technology to provide “a more accurate and objective scoring system” for evaluating rotator cuff muscles and to gauge the prospects of patient surgeries.

Lara Riem, Springbok’s director of AI and data science, said in a statement the company created an “extensive digital database” of healthy and injured rotator cuffs through phase I of the project. She said that database helped it establish key metrics evaluating muscles that can be “derived precisely and automatically, at scale” from magnetic resonance images.

Springbok said completion of a phase II trial of the new analysis system will allow it to apply for commercial clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.

“Our ultimate goal at Springbok Analytics is to become the standard for how we understand human musculature and improve clinical diagnosis, injury management and human performance through innovative, AI-based technologies,” co-founder and Chief Science Officer Silvia Blemker said in a statement.

Springbok’s 3D MRI imaging services are used by teams across the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Premier League and NCAA. Last April, it closed an oversubscribed $3 million seed round led by Transition Equity Partners that included participation from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

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