Active Life Scientific, Inc. is a medical device company located in Santa Barbara, California.
We are motivated by the positive impact our devices will have on people’s health, worldwide. We make instruments that test the quality of bones and tissues so scientists can discover better treatments, medical professionals can deliver better results, and people can live actively throughout their entire life. We believe everyone should be able to live actively throughout their entire life and we are driven to make that vision become a reality.
Visit research.activelifescientific.com for more information on instruments available to researchers.
Active Life Scientific, Inc. was founded in 2007 with the specific intention of addressing the well-recognized diagnostic gap related to bone health assessment. For hundreds of millions of patients around the world, bone fragility has had a dramatic negative effect on quality of life as well as substantial economic cost. The clinical standard for assessing skeletal health is the x-ray machine; specifically, the dual energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA machine. Clinicians are taught that bone density is the gauge for assessing bone strength and patient’s response to treatment. In the past decade, however, the definition of bone strength has been corrected to include not just bone density but also bone quality. Active Life developed a tool that assesses the aspects of bone health that the standard of care misses. With the introduction of OsteoProbe to clinical practice, physicians now have a complete set of tools to diagnose each patient’s bone health objectively and more completely.
To date, over 2000 patients have already been tested using the device in scientific clinical studies. These studies have been published in over 17 prominent peer-reviewed journal articles that demonstrate the clinical value of the test. The test is safe, fast, and affordable. The entire procedure takes around 5 minutes and results are delivered immediately to the physician.
The OsteoProbe® uses a single-use sterile tip that directly touches a patient’s bone to quantify its quality and function. The results come in the form of a score, or ‘bone score’. Low scores (<70) are associated with poor bone quality (e.g. fractures, disease, etc.) while high scores (>80) are typically obtained from healthy patients with no skeletal complications or fracture. Importantly, the OsteoProbe has been demonstrated to detect changes in bone quality over a significantly shorter period of time when compared to DEXA (7 weeks vs 1-2 years). One day the test may become a standard part of a physical exam and help prevent fragility fractures for hundreds of millions of patients who suffer from this silent disease.
Given the low cost and high portability of the device, the company is currently focused on expanding the use of the tool to augment every DEXA scan that is administered throughout Europe and the United States, once FDA approved. The company remains committed to delivering safe and effective devices for diagnosing bone material quality.
Bone quality is not precisely defined from a scientific standpoint. It is described as an amalgamation of all the various factors that enable your bones to resist fracture. These factors are recognized by the clinical community to be critical for assessing a patient’s bone health but no tools exist for assessing bone quality in a clinical setting without a surgical intervention. The interest in bone quality became popular in the early 1990s when physicians began to observe clinical situations where measuring bone density proved to be less effective at assessing the strength of bone.
Physicians today use a scale called the T-score to determine if a patient is osteoporotic and assess their risk of fragility fracture. The lower the T-score, the worse the fracture risk. However, many clinical situations exist where low bone density is a poor indicator of fragility. For example, many young women have low BMD but are in all other ways healthy. These young women typically do not experience a fragility fracture but are still considered to be ‘at risk’ according to the gold standard. The addition of a bone quality test, like OsteoProbe® gives the physician more information to make the best decision regarding their care. Other patients, like those with Type 2 Diabetes, often have increased BMD yet go on to fracture. The physicians who see these patients gain additional information about the quality and function of the bone that can best guide their decisions.
While assessing BMD is critical to understand bone health, it does not provide a complete picture. As in the examples mentioned here, many patients also need an objective measurement of bone quality for an accurate, personalized diagnosis of fracture risk. Additionally, changes in BMD often take years to be detectable using the DEXA machine. An ever-growing diagnostic gap clearly exists for assessing bone quality.
As our understanding of this diagnostic gap improves, so improves the hope for patients who wish to avoid life altering fragility fractures. New therapies have been developed that rapidly decrease the incidence of fractures without significantly changing bone density. It is thought that this decrease in fractures is, in part, because of the improvement of the bone quality in these patients. These therapies reduce fracture and ultimately help patients stay healthy, however, clinicians still face the challenge of choosing the right therapy for the right patient. We see a bright new future for both diagnosing and treating bone fragility prior to a fracture.
Over the past 10 years Active Life Scientific, Inc. worked to develop research and clinical tools to objectively assess tissue and material quality. Their technology has been published in over 120 peer-reviewed scientific articles. These independent studies have not only validated the value of the technology, but also the substantial benefit the technology brings to medicine; offering new hope to patients who suffer from diseases like osteoporosis. Active Life’s clinical tool, OsteoProbe®, has already been approved for use in Europe and is on track for submission for approval in the United States.
Peter Burks, PhD – Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Burks began his career in a research laboratory at UC Santa Barbara, where he earned his PhD in Chemistry under the guidance of Prof. Peter C. Ford. After graduation, Peter’s passion for turning laboratory science into products that improve people’s lives led him to find Active Life.
Since joining the team in 2014, Peter has played an integral leadership role across nearly all functions of the company. He began in sales lead generation and market education, but quickly ascended to become the head of sales, research support and clinical development. Since late 2014, Peter has brought in over $1M in revenue while also working closely with Active Life’s customers and collaborators to facilitate their research success. During this period, publications using Active Life’s technology grew from less than 30 peer-reviewed articles to over 90. Peter’s timeline-driven management style and research skill set played a critical role in the commercialization of OsteoProbe for Research Use Only; he worked closely with the engineers to transition an academic laboratory prototype into a research instrument used by top institutions around the world. Recently, Peter has led efforts to map OsteoProbe’s regulatory pathway as well as explore initial commercialization applications. Since becoming CEO, Peter has emphasized strategic focus, team cohesiveness, and accountability. He works closely with the team to drive the company towards achieving the targeted regulatory and commercial goals.
During his PhD, Peter published 6 scientific articles and was recognized with several honors and awards including the Corning Inc. Foundation fellowship, multiple National Science Foundation fellowships, as well as a University Award of Distinction and the B.R. Baker Memorial Award, a top award in his program. While earning his PhD, he simultaneously participated in UCSB’s Technology Management Program where he earned a certificate in Entrepreneurship and was selected as the graduate commencement speaker.
Alex directs the development of new applications for Active Life Scientific, Inc.’s core technology. Alex holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics along with a Technology Management Program certificate from UC Santa Barbara. He worked directly in Dr. Paul Hansma’s laboratory on the development of the first Reference Point Indentation (RPI) prototypes and helped develop a new mechanical parameter, Indentation Distance Increase or IDI, that could differentiate “easily fractured bone” from “less easily fractured bone” without having to actually induce a fracture. He was the technical founder of the company, responsible for developing the hardware, software, and manufacturing infrastructure for the first Reference Point Indentation prototypes. Alex has instructed and educated scientists and physicians around the world in use of the technology. He remains focused on innovating new applications and working closely with researchers to continue to expand the RPI community. Alex is a contributing author for 8 peer-reviewed articles (as of 1/2016) on Reference Point Indentation. Alex started his first company in 1997 when he began making websites and continued working for himself throughout high school and college including landscaping, IT consulting, and web-application development. He has a passion for staying physically active and developing new technologies that will help other people live actively or help them return to an active life.
Matt brings results oriented corporate experience to Active Life Scientific, Inc. Matt studied Finance at the Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He then worked in Financial Planning and Analysis at Semtech, a fast-growing, publicly traded semiconductor company where he was able to learn how a company can succeed in a highly competitive market. Matt returned to school to earn a MBA with a Specialization in International Finance at Bond University in Queensland, Australia. Matt believes that Active Life Scientific, Inc. will enable a better quality of life for hundreds of millions of people and their descendants and that Reference Point Indentation provides incredibly important information that is essential to improving musculoskeletal health.
Paul Hansma, PhD – Founder, Chief Inventor
Dr. Hansma is a Research Professor, California NanoSystems Institute, CNSI, and Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was a professor for 39 years. Dr. Hansma has been building scientific instruments since high school where he built an air liquefier, which did not work, and a van de Graff generator, which did. He earned his PhD in Physics at UC Berkeley, where he built instruments for low temperature physics. At UC Santa Barbara he invented on the first Scanning Tunneling Microscope and the first Atomic Force Microscope that could image samples in water. Dr. Hansma received the 2000 Biological Physics Prize of the American Physical Society for his work on imaging biological samples. He has over 350 scientific publications and over 25 patents. In 2001 Dr. Hansma began focusing his basic research on nanoscale mechanisms of fracture resistance in biomaterials. Since 2005 Paul has focused on further developing his Reference Point Indentation invention for measuring tissue material properties clinically.
Lad Handelman - Chairman
Lad was a founder and CEO of two of today’s premier offshore underwater contractors, Oceaneering International and Cal Dive International. With Lad as CEO, Oceaneering became the largest commercial diving contractor in the world, with over 1,000 employees and operations in 24 countries. Oceaneering pioneered much of the deep-diving technology which has become industry practice today. Under Lad’s leadership, Oceaneering became a public company and today is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:OII) with nearly 10,000 employees worldwide. In 1980, Lad founded Cal Dive International, Inc., an oil services contracting firm specializing in construction engineering and underwater installations, repairs and maintenance. Under Lad’s direction as CEO, the company soon had its own saturation diving ships and deep-water construction barges. In 2006, Cal Dive changed its name to Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. Today Helix has an entire fleet of dynamic-positioning vessels accompanied with the world’s most advanced robotics, down-holed equipment and is the recognized leader in ultra-deep waters – completing projects in over 5,000 feet of water depth. Helix is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:HLX). Today the combined book value of the two firms is over six billion dollars.
Steve is the retired Vice Chairman of Hughes Electronics. During his time at Hughes he served as CEO of Hughes Space and Communications Company, the world’s leading builder of communication satellites and a provider of Space Systems for the NASA, NRO, Navy and Air Force; Hughes Communications, a leading owner and operator of communication satellites; and Hughes Telecommunications and Space, a unit responsible for the above businesses plus the international development of DirecTV.
While CEO of Hughes Communications, Dorfman was responsible for the development of the Galaxy System, the leading North American satellite service provider, subsequently merged with Intelsat; the JCSAT system for Japan, in partnership with Mitsui and Itochu; the initiation of the direct to home business at Hughes which ultimately became DirecTV; and several other satellite businesses. Earlier in his career Dorfman was responsible for space exploration at Hughes including planetary exploration, weather and scientific satellites and mapping of earth resources from space. He managed the Pioneer Venus program which landed 5 probes on the surface of Venus
After retiring from Hughes, Mr. Dorfman was the Hunsaker Visiting Professor at MIT, the Chairman of ProtoStar Ltd and a member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee.
Mr. Dorfman has served on the Boards of Hughes, Raytheon, PanAmSat, American Mobile Satellite, Galaxy Latin America, JCSAT, DirecTV, Galaxy Institute, ProtoStar and HRL Laboratories. He has been a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Club and the Devereux Foundation. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the Tennenbaum Capital Advisory Board, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, The California Lutheran University School of Management Advisory Board and is a Senior Fellow of the California Council for Science and Technology. He has served on advisory committees for NASA, FCC, USIA, Department of Transportation, Air Force, USC School of Engineering, Hughes Network Systems, Boeing Satellite Systems, JPL, Ames Research Center and the National Research Council.
Among Mr. Dorfman’s awards are the Distinguished Public Service Award, NASA’s highest award, for his work on Pioneer Venus; the Society of Satellite Professionals Hall of Fame; and Via Satellite’s Satellite Executive of the Year for 1995. He has received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Morgan State University.
Bill Casner along with Kenny Troutt founded Excel Communications telecommunications company which became the 4th largest long distance carrier in the U.S. and the quickest company to earn $1 billion in a year (they did it in 8 years, Microsoft is the 2nd quickest at 15 years). Casner also owns B&R Equipment, which sells and leases heavy, earth-moving equipment. Casner and Troutt established WinStar Farms in 2000 which is a Thoroughbred horse racing farm which bred and raced the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, Well Armed winner of the 2009 Dubai World Cup and many other G1 winners. Mr. Casner is the former chairman of the Thoroughbred Owner Breeders Association, currently vice chairman and co-founder of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), and serves on the board of trustees for Breeders’ Cup. In addition, he was a founding board member for The Race For Education Inc., a national scholarship foundation that provides educational opportunities to children of racing’s backside workers and farm workers.
Linda Heller was appointed CFO of Deca Technologies in September 2017. She is a seasoned financial executive with diverse experience in financial analysis, treasury, mergers and acquisitions and investment banking. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Active Life Scientific.
Prior to joining Deca, Linda was the Chief Financial Officer of eSolar and the Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer of Power-One (acquired by ABB). She also has held senior financial roles at Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, and Pharmacia (acquired by Pfizer) as well as a variety of corporate finance roles at Silicon Graphics. Linda began her career at Salomon Brothers in the Corporate Finance group.
Linda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Rice University and a Master’s Degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.
Scientific and Medical Advisors
Adolfo Diez-Perez, M.D.
Dr. Diez-Perez is a world-renowned, accomplished expert in bone quality and osteoporosis and Head Emeritus of Internal Medicine at the Hospital del Mar (Barcelona, Spain). He is a past Senior Medical Advisor at the Eli Lilly Research Laboratories in Indianapolis, IN where he led their Bone Quality research program. He was also a visiting scientist at internationally renowned Center for Hard Tissue Research at Creighton University in Omaha, NE and was a past Associate Professor at the Bloomberg-Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. Dr. Diez-Perez is a Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain and Director of the Research Unit of Bone and Joint Pathophysiology at the Municipal Institute of Medical Research. Additional current and past positions include: Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO), Scientific Advisor to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, Board of Director of the International Bone and Mineral Society, Board of Director of the European Calcified Tissues Society, President of the Spanish Society of Osteoporotic Fractures, and President of the Spanish Society for Bone Research and Mineral Metabolism. Dr. Diez- Perez is author of over 260 publications in peer-reviewed journals and over 30 books and book chapters.
Sundeep Khosla, M.D.
Dr. Khosla has more than 25 years of experience in the bone health field with specialty in the pathophysiology of bone in women and men. Dr. Khosla is Editor in Chief of leading research publication BONE and is a past President of the American Society for Bone & Mineral Research. He has served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and is the Dr. Francis Chucker and Nathan Landow Research Professor of Medicine and Physiology, Mayo Foundation distinguished investigator. He serves as Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Dean for Clinical and Translational Science at Mayo Clinic. Previously, Dr. Khosla has served as a Member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Endocrine Reviews.
Mary Bouxsein, PhD
Dr. Bouxsein has more than 20 years of experience in the bone health field with specialty in skeletal fragility from a biomechanics viewpoint. Dr. Bouxsein currently holds positions as the Director of the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Biologist for the Endocrine Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Boston University, and a Faculty Member at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Erik Eriksen, M.D.
Dr. Eriksen has more than 20 years of experience in the bone health field with specialty in osteoporosis and calcium metabolic research. Dr. Eriksen is a professor of Endocrinology at Oslo University Hospital. He has served as the Global Product Medical Director at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, the Global Medical Director at Eli Lilly & Co., the Department Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine at Aarhus Amtssygehus, and an Associate Professor at University of Aarhus. Dr. Eriksen has successfully taken two osteoporosis drugs (Forsteo and Aclasta) from clinical development to global launch. He has been awarded the Best Pharmaceutical Development team worldwide by Good Clinical Practice Journal, the Quality Prize for best Clinical Department in Århus Amt, and the Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Simon Tang, PhD
Dr. Tang is an assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University St. Louis. His research interests include biological mechanisms regulating the quality and the biomechanical function of skeletal tissues; effects of mechanical signals on bone functional adaptation; molecular mechanisms relating to degeneration and pain of the intervertebral disc; tissue engineering and regenerative strategies using novel biomaterials. Dr. Tang received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters and PhD in Biomedical Engineering on failure mechanisms of bone due to nonenzymatic glycation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY). He did his postdoctoral work in examining the biological mechanisms regulating skeletal matrix quality and function under the guidance of Dr. Tamara Alliston, PhD, in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of California, San Francisco.
Socrates Papapoulos, M.D.
Socrates Papapoulos is Professor of Medicine, Consultant Physician and Director of Bone and Mineral Research at the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases of the Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands. He received his MD from the University of Athens, Greece and he was trained in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology in Athens and at the Middlesex Hospital, London, UK. Since 1974 he has been continuously engaged in basic and clinical research in disorders of calcium and bone metabolism with special emphasis on the basic and clinical pharmacology of the bisphosphonates particularly in osteoporosis. More recently a main focus of his research has been the pathophysiology of conditions characterized by high bone mass. A former President of the Dutch Society for Calcium and Bone Metabolism, he has served on numerous boards and committees including the Board and the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Foundation of Osteoporosis and of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the Board of Directors of the International Bone and Mineral Society, the European Union committee for the prevention of osteoporosis and a WHO task force for the development of a world wide strategy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.Dr Papapoulos is recipient of several awards and distinctions, he has served, among other, on the editorial boards of Bone and Mineral, Bone and Osteoporosis International and he has more than 300 publications.
Jeff Nyman, PhD
Dr. Nyman joined the Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology in the summer of 2006 moving from San Antonio with Dr. G. Mundy and colleagues. While in SA (2003-2006), he was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at San Antonio investigating determinants that could explain the age-related decrease in the post-yield toughness of cortical bone. Prior to his time in San Antonio, he earned a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis where he developed theoretical models using finite element analysis to investigate how bone adapts from a mechanical perspective to orthopaedic implants and drug treatments. All these experiences including his transition from research instructor to independent investigator at Vanderbilt University influenced his current research endeavors. The ultimate goal of his research is to lower the number of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, genetic diseases, and aging. Towards that end, his research team investigates ways to improve the clinical assessment of fracture risk and identify regulators of bone toughness (lack of brittleness).