Morphormics, which specializes in medical image enhancement, has been acquired by California-based Accuray (Nasdaq: ARAY) in a deal worth some $5.7 million.

The firms announced the deal Monday.

Morphormics, a privately held firm also known as Mx, was launched by a team of UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members.

The Chapel Hill-based company has licensed its technology to Accuray since 2008.

Morphormics technology automatically identifies and then draws boundaries around anatomical structures.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our company that will bring the benefits of our technology to more patients,” said Edward Chaney, a co-founder of Morphormics and professor of Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at UNC-CH. “Accuray’s acquisition confirms the value our technology offers in its ability to dramatically increase efficiency and accuracy in the delivery of image-guided medical treatment.”

Accuray has used Morphormics technology to plan treatment for prostate cancer, the software enabling technicians to more focus radiation.

Its autosegmentation technology is available for use in these structures:

• Prostate
• Bladder
• Rectum
• Seminal vesicles
• Femoral head and neck
• Urethra
• Skin

Research also is underway for use in the thorax region.

“Since our licensing agreement with Morphormics began, we have seen firsthand the benefits the company’s technology provides clinicians in improving efficiency, especially in the treatment of prostate cancer, and its potential to improve patient outcomes,” said Accuray Chief Executive Officer Euan Thomson. “The acquisition of Morphormics will expand Accuray’s IP portfolio, reduce our licensing expenses and strengthen our engineering team with top talent from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This strategic acquisition is another important step toward providing leading-edge treatment solutions personalized for each cancer patient.”

Morphormics launched in 2001. Founders included Chaney and professors Stephen Pizer, professor in the departments of computer science and radiation oncology, and Sarang Joshi, who at the time was an assistant professor at UNC.

Nick England, president of 3rdTech, a business incubator company, helped UNC spin off and launch the venture.