Bioptigen, a spin-out from Duke University’s Biomedical Engineering Department, has won a $2.7 million grant from the National Eye Institute for research into pediatric eye disease issues.

The medical device firm focuses on ophthalmic imaging.

The 27-month grant is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In 2007, Bioptigen received Food and Drug Administration approval to begin marketing its non-invasive eye scanner. The FDA-approved imaging system is designed to deliver micro-scale, 3D images of the retina and other eye surfaces 50 times faster than other scanners. The company says the scanners, called spectral domain optical coherence tomography imaging systems, or SDOCT, will be useful in exams for eye diseases such as glaucoma.

Bioptigen is also developing other imaging systems for use inside or outside of the body as well as image-processing software.

The new grant will focus on spectral domain optical coherence tomography systems, the company said.

“Children have unique eye care needs,” said Dr. Eric L. Buckland, chief executive officer at Bioptigen. “It is both exciting and satisfying to work on imaging tailored to the developing eye. Our objective is to provide researchers and clinicians with the comprehensive, mobile imaging they require to properly view and manage pediatric eye disease.”

Bioptigen hopes to develop a portable device that can be used in imaging examinations of premature and neonatal infants.

According to the company, nine of the top 10 ophthalmic research institutions in the U.S. utilize existing Bioptigen equipment. The company has received more than 30 patents and has applied for another 30.

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