Medical imaging technology from InnerOptic will be combined with imaging technology from a Tennessee company in a single product aimed at giving surgeons a more comprehensive view of the organ and their medical instruments during liver surgery.

Hillsborough-based InnerOptic has reached agreement to license its medical imaging technology to Pathfinder Technologies, the companies announced today. Pathfinder’s technology is already in use at cancer centers around the country. InnerOptic’s medical imaging technology improves how surgeons can view liver tumors for removal during minimally-invasive surgery.

InnerOptic describes its technology as a “GPS” that uses ultrasound imaging to improves a physician’s ability to perform complex minimally invasive surgery. The technology allows for real time, 3-D visualization of a surgical instrument’s location. Pathfinder will incorporate the InnerOptic technology on its own product, the Explorer navigation system. Explorer offers real-time instrument tracking in relation to 3-D anatomical models.

InnerOptic and Pathfinder say the combination of their technologies will offer the best technology in real-time tracking, giving doctors the most detailed and accurate anatomical information possible. Also, Pathfinder will now offer InnerOptic’s electromagnetic navigation modality, which enables more precise tracking of the tip of a non-rigid surgical instrument, such as an ablation needle. The combination gives doctors both electromagnetic and optical navigation options.

“Combining our products onto one platform provides surgeons with multiple navigation solutions in performing complex liver interventions and, most importantly, enhancing patient outcomes,” InnerOptic CEO Brian Heaney said in a prepared statement.

No financial terms of the licensing agreement were disclosed. As part of the announcement, Pathfinder Technologies said it is has also changed its name from Pathfinder Therapeutics to reflect a wider use of navigational technology and visualization tools.

Privately-held InnerOptic was founded in 2003 based on technology developed by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.