Imagion MRI applications as a new source of revenue

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Sep 9, 2019, in Biotech

Shares in Imagion Biosystems (ASX:IBX) have increased approximately three-fold since June on the back of significant developments with its early stage cancer detection technologies.

However, they could get a further boost on Monday after the company advised the market of early-stage evidence that the technology could have applications in improving magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs).

Executive chairman Bob Proulx said, “While development of our proprietary magnetic relaxometry technology has been our focus to date, this new preliminary work shows the potential for our MagSenseTM nanoparticles to work with MRI and could open up a new commercial pathway as a contrast agent that can be used to improve the effectiveness of MRI in the detection and monitoring of HER2 breast cancer.”

Imagion Biosystems is developing a new non-radioactive and safe diagnostic imaging technology.

By combining biotechnology and nanotechnology, the company aims to detect cancer and other diseases earlier and with higher specificity than is currently possible.

A key development that provided considerable interest in the stock was the designation by the FDA of its MagSense System and Test for staging HER2 breast cancer as a breakthrough device.

The purpose of the Breakthrough Device Program is to expedite and improve communications between a device manufacturer and the agency during device development.

Highlighting the importance of this development, Proulx said, "Qualifying as a Breakthrough Device validates our MagSense technology as a transformative opportunity for healthcare, and could improve the standard of care for staging HER breast cancer."

Potential as an MRI contrast agent

The company is progressing with a study where early stage results have demonstrated that the anti-HER2 nanoparticles used in Imagion’s MagSenseTM technology, which provide specific targeting of cancerous cells, may also have potential as an MR imaging (MRI) contrast agent.

Importantly, the study shows the MagSenseTM nanoparticles may be equally effective as a multi-modal molecular imaging agent, generating detectable signals in two different imaging methods - super magnetic relaxometry (SPMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In the MRI setting, contrast agents are used to enhance the image and improve resolution.

However, to date, imaging agents have been general purpose, creating contrast at tissue boundaries but not providing functional imaging utility.

A targeted MagSenseTM nanoparticle detectable by SPMR, that also could be used as a contrast agent to enhance an MR image of specific tissue would create an opportunity for Imagion to work with the large installed base of existing MRI machines.

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