Stories of Medical Innovation

Wake Forest School of Medicine Licenses Two Inventions to Foenestra Corporation

Two patent families and related technology for DNA detection and labeling developed by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine have been licensed to Foenestra Corporation.

Two patent families and related technology for DNA detection and labeling developed by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine have been licensed to Foenestra Corporation, a private company that aims to enable more efficient identification and analysis of epigenetic modifications to accelerate research and diagnoses of diseases and conditions that are linked to the modifications.

The technology was invented by Adam R. Hall, PhD, associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest School of Medicine. The first invention is a method for labeling epigenetic modifications to DNA, modifications that can be indicative of certain diseases or exposure to harmful agents such as radiation and pesticides.

The second invention is a system for detecting DNA containing specific sequences or modifications by measuring electrical signatures generated when the targeted molecules pass through a nanoscale opening formed in a silicon wafer.

“Foenestra is pleased to have formalized its partnership with Wake Forest related to these platform technologies,” said Hal Eason, CEO of Foenestra.  “We believe the combined technologies enable both a near term opportunity to accelerate research into the better understood epigenetic modifications as well as a longer-term opportunity for new directions of research and innovation in the understudied frontiers.  Ongoing access to the resources of Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest Innovations, including the laboratory of Dr. Hall, greatly improves our ability to advance these technologies towards commercialization.”

Foenestra plans to develop an automated point-of-need device for researching epigenetic modifications and diagnosing the associated diseases and conditions. The device will be based on both licensed technologies by first labeling the targeted epigenetic modifications in a way that enables their detection, then detecting the modified DNA with a nanodevice.

“Wake Forest Innovations is pleased to work with Foenestra to help further develop this technology and move it closer to the marketplace where it can have a positive effect on the health of patients,” said Dean Stell, associate director at Wake Forest Innovations. “We hope this collaboration will lead to improved health for patients everywhere, and are elated that the Foenestra technology will be refined and developed within the local Winston-Salem innovation ecosystem.”


Wake Forest School of Medicine  is the medical education, research and innovation enterprise of Wake Forest Baptist Health, an academic health system located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The School of Medicine is a nationally recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking translational research in aging and cognition, cancer, heart and vascular, metabolism and diabetes, brain and stroke. The School of Medicine also includes Wake Forest Innovations, a commercialization enterprise focused on advancing health care through new medical technologies and biomedical discovery.

About Wake Forest Innovations

The mission of Wake Forest Innovations is to drive a culture of innovation throughout the Wake Forest academic system by advancing research aimed at improving patient care and the human condition, and translating the research and resulting intellectual property into accessible commercial products and technologies.

About Foenestra

Foenestra aims to enhance human health by providing technologies that accelerate medical research and that bring faster, more accurate, more affordable diagnostics closer to the point of need.  Foenestra is a research stage company based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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