Preora Healthcare Inc. is a private medical device company focused on developing technology for the early detection and treatment of cancer through nanocytology, the study of cells at the nanoscale. With our proprietary technology platform – Partial Wave Spectroscopic (PWS) NanocytologyTM  – we are better able to understand the earliest cellular changes that lead to cancer, with a corresponding impact on treatments for cancer.

The company is committed to making its novel nanocytology platform widely available to cytologists, cytopathologists, physicians, researchers and others, thereby increasing their impact and influence in cancer diagnostics and treatments.



Nanocytology: Breaking the Diffraction Barrier

In this Northwestern University video, Drs. Backman and Subramanian and Preora Pres. & CEO Hart briefly explain the science of biopics that led to the combination of a traditional microscope with a spectroscope to develop Partial Wave Spectroscopy.

Brian Smola, CT, Lead Cytotechnologist, Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan and CAP inspector


As a result of our efforts to create and advance the field of nanocytology (the study of cells at the nanoscale), we are identifying new opportunities to support the needs of cytologists, cytopathologists, physicians and researchers. We intend to increase their impact and influence in cancer diagnostics and treatments through the successful commercialization of our products.

We will achieve worldwide adoption of our technologies through partnerships, licensing, and the eventual sale of our products to laboratory, diagnostic, or therapeutic companies with strong distribution and channel presence in our key markets of interest.

Our near-term priorities:  

  • Novel sample preparation systems deliver efficiency improvements in a small, customer-friendly footprint, enabling automation that improves clinical evaluations and scientific research conducted in both academic and commercial organizations.
  • New first-tier screening tests that could significantly improve the ability to detect cancers earlier when treatments are most likely to be effective. The company has validated the technology and its potential to detect cancer in more than 1,500 patients in seven different cancer types (lung, colorectal, prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, thyroid and esophageal). Preora’s first screening tests for lung and colorectal cancers are currently under development.

We intend to establish the clinical utility and commercial potential of our sample preparation systems through  distribution agreements, and we will execute pilot programs for our lung and colorectal Laboratory Developed tests (LDTs). This will allow us to gain valuable feedback from cytologists, cytopathologists, primary care physicians and specialists as we demonstrate the value and viability of these businesses.


John Hart

President and CEO, Board Member

35-year career with Baxter, Allegiance, and Cardinal Health. Involved in bringing new drug-delivery-platform technologies and over 100 new product codes to market.

Hariharan Subramanian, PhD

Chief Technology Officer

Research Assistant Professor, Biomedical Eng. Dept., Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. One of the lead developers of the PWS technology platform.

Micah Litow, MEM, MBA

Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer

Broad commercialization expertise across medical devices and diagnostics, including stops at IA Collaborative, Leica Biosystems, Medtronic and McKinsey and Company.

Advisory Team

Vadim Backman, PhD

Chairman of the Board

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Biophotonics, Northwestern University. Leader, Cancer and Physical Sciences Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Hemant Roy, MD

Board Member, Chair of the Advisory Board

Professor of Medicine, Chief, Section of Gastroenterology; Boston University Medical Center.

Stuart Cornew

Board Member

Founder and Managing Director of AnswerMine. Chairman of Northwestern University’s Chemistry of Life Processes Institute Executive Board.

Bob Altman

Board Member

Previously, senior executive at Pinnacle Biologics (the U.S.-based subsidiary of Concordia Healthcare), Marathon Pharmaceuticals, Astellas Pharma and Abbott Laboratories. Current board member of Toltec Pharmaceuticals and Output Medical.

Steve Ducommun

Legal and Intellectual Property

Partner at the Chicago law firm Perkins Coie; counsels Preora on a broad range of legal and IP issues

Company History

The opening chapter of the Preora Healthcare story begins with a young boy’s wish to become a physician to help people. Years later, while enrolled in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, Vadim Backman started to “think big,” transforming his childhood goal to become a doctor into a dream of saving millions of lives through the development of advanced technology. To realize this dream, Dr. Backman came to Northwestern University.

Dr. Backman believed that a team of experts that shared his vision could have as significant an impact on several cancer types as the Pap smear has had in cervical cancer. To realize his dream of enhancing the early detection of cancer, he created the Backman Photonics Laboratory at Northwestern University in 2008, which lead to a partnership with Dr. Hariharan Subramanian and their co-creation of their proprietary PWS Nanocytology™ platform.

Recognizing their shared values and their ability to collaborate effectively, Drs. Backman, Subramanian and Hemant Roy formed NanoCytomics LLC in 2011. The company’s name connotes its focus on studying cells at the nanoscale level. Their resulting research efforts spawned a new field, nanocytology, which today is the foundation for the company’s new product development efforts to revolutionize early cancer detection and treatment. NanoCytomics is the exclusive licensee of product candidates generated by the PWS NanocytologyTM platform.

In 2015, NanoCytomics created Preora Diagnostics Inc., as the exclusive licensee of NanoCytomics’ cancer screening tests. Led by President and CEO John Hart, Preora’s initial vision was to be the company that commercializes screening tests uniquely suited to be the first step in a two-tiered, global approach to diagnosing solid-tumor cancers. In 2017, the Preora team uncovered the full power and value of the PWS Nanocytology™ platform, including new revenue streams. In order to better reflect the company’s full potential to improve survival rates through the early detection and treatment of cancer, the company is now known as Preora Healthcare Inc.

Intellectual Property


Preora Healthcare enjoys strong intellectual property protection through a combination of patents and exclusive licensing agreements with Northwestern University and NanoCytomics, LLC. Preora has an exclusive license to commercialize all products that use the PWS Nanocytology™ platform.

Preora’s exclusive license includes five issued US patents, two issued international patents, two patents applied for and two provisional patents. The company anticipates filing additional patents for improved instrumentation, sample processing methods and analyses modules.

Current Collaborations

Here are a few examples of organizations with whom Preora partners on behalf of patients worldwide.

Northwestern University

Preora benefits from many partnerships with Northwestern, including the provision of tissue samples that support the company’s clinical research. The main direction of Dr. Vadim Backman’s Biophotonics Laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering is the development of novel optical spectral and imaging techniques for screening, diagnosis and detection of disease, and characterization of biological and bioengineered tissue. The school’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) catalyzes the translation of Northwestern innovations to benefit the public and contribute to economic growth. Preora appreciates INVO’s strong support for the company.

Boston University

Through the leadership of Preora Board Member and Chair of the Advisory Board Hemant Roy, MD, Preora has forged a strong and growing relationship with the Boston University Medical Center. As chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Dr. Roy and his colleagues at the medical center are partners in the company’s clinical research efforts, serving as an important source of tissue samples for our ongoing studies.

NanoCytomics LLC

Powered by a passion to effect dramatic improvements in cancer survival rates, NanoCytomics’ team members in-license the scientific breakthroughs produced at Northwestern’s Biophotonics Laboratory and applies its product development expertise to creating new cancer screening tests likely to succeed in the global marketplace. Preora’s close and deep collaboration with NanoCytomics is evident in the exclusive licensing agreement for commercializing new products, and in NanoCytomics current position as the lead investor in Preora.


The Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO) Institute’s PROPEL Center helps guide the development of formation-stage and early-stage life sciences companies by providing entrepreneurs with access to specialized resources and expertise to prepare them for early-stage funding. Since its creation in 2015, Preora has been the grateful recipient of PROPEL’s strategic counsel and merit-based financial awards.

NU CLP Institute

Northwestern University’s Chemistry of Life Processes Institute addresses the goal of discovering the molecular basis of life and its application to problems in health and disease by driving innovation through multidisciplinary collaborations, accelerating research through cutting-edge instrumentation, translating these discoveries into society, and educating the next generation of transdisciplinary researchers. Preora has enjoyed several mutually beneficial collaborations with members of the Institute.


Preora is proud to be a member of MATTER, the Chicago-based community of healthcare innovators, incubator of ideas, and catalyst for change. MATTER describes itself as boots-on-the-ground entrepreneurs pushing against the status quo and established institutions dedicated to improving patients’ lives. At MATTER we are all hungry for change, and we’re working together to solve real and complex healthcare problems. Through close collaborations, Preora and MATTER work together to achieve goals that are in their respective strategic interests, while also benefitting the Chicago life science community.