Bioscan’s new French subsidiary will implement research and development activities contributing to the “IMAPPI” project, designing and developing a prototype PET/MRI solution that can foster innovation around early detection of tumors.
Dijon, France, January 13, 2012. Washington, DC-based Bioscan, Inc., a leader in preclinical imaging systems, announces the establishment of its subsidiary in Dijon, France: Bioscan Molecular Imaging France SAS (BMIF).
Specializing in multimodality preclinical research instrumentation, the company employs a staff of 40 and generates more than $20 million in sales revenues. Bioscan is a principal industrial partner of the IMAPPI (Integrated Magnetic Resonance And Positron emission tomography in Preclinical Imaging) project, a effort funded by the French Commissariat Général à l’Investissement and led by a consortium of academic and industrial partners located in Dijon France. As the Bioscan contribution to IMAPPI, BMIF will develop a prototype molecular imaging device integrating highly innovative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology with Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The first studies using the new equipment are expected in early 2014.
Bioscan’s President and CEO, Staf Van Cauter, is excited to locate Bioscan’s European R&D center in Dijon, emphasizing that “the pool of local expertise, the presence of institutional partners via the Pharm’image consortium, and the support of local, regional and national governments facilitated by the Burgundy Development Agency, have been critical elements supporting our decision.
Over the next five years, BMIF expects to recruit more than 20 positions in R & D and support functions, representing an investment of more than €10 million by the parent company. The subsidiary will be responsible for the design and development of advanced imaging systems, including new instrumentation, software, data processing and associated consumables.
“This decision demonstrates to the authorities of the State, the Burgundy region, the city of Dijon and the academic community, Bioscan’s willingness to participate in the dynamism of the GIE Pharm’image center of excellence in pharmaco-imaging research. We have been very hospitably received and supported by the Burgundy Development Agency and other regional stakeholders” said Fabrice Chaumard, Managing Director of Europe for Bioscan.
Vice President of R & D and BMIF General Manager, Dr. Hein Haas , will coordinate R&D activities within BMIF and supervise the IMAPPI-related work. Subsequently, the R&D team will aim to build on the results of the IMAPPI project to explore new applications in multimodal instrumentation and innovative imaging agents.
BMIF’s researchers and engineers will face the challenge of removing technological barriers inherent to the juxtaposition of radioactivity and strong magnetic fields within the same equipment. Standard PET detectors placed inside an MRI magnet are likely to affect the magnetic field significantly. BMIF must develop new instrumentation to eliminate the resulting interference. To address these constraints, BMIF and its partners are bringing together a multidisciplinary team that includes expertise in instrumental physics, electronics, computing, signal processing, radiochemistry, biology and pharmacology. Indeed, together with the development of the prototype PET / MRI, the IMAPPI project will lead to the development of new dual molecules that are detectable using both the MRI and PET modalities, to further improve the diagnosis of diseases.
BMIF will work closely with the various institutes and laboratories attached primarily to the University of Burgundy, as well as smaller biotechnology companies located near the campus and the GIE Pharm’image cyclotron facility.
The IMAPPI Project: An example of successful public-private R&D partnership
The IMAPPI project aims to develop a prototype PET / MRI with the support of the PRES Bourgogne Franche-Comté and the French General Commission on Investment. An international jury selected the project to receive a grant in 2011 as part of the “Equipment for Excellence” program. The project budget is estimated at €15 million with €7.3 million provided via grant funding from the French Government.
The challenge of IMAPPI is to provide pharmaceutical companies with innovative imaging instrumentation through a new combination of PET and MRI, enabling preclinical studies to be conducted more efficiently with easier translation of research results to humans. “The multi-modality capabilities of the instrument will allow accurate detection of very early tumors in small animals, enabling the development of new drug candidates for humans,” said Fabrice Chaumard, Director of Europe for Bioscan, Inc.
IMAPPI is a collaborative project public / private partnership between the research teams from Dijon, Besançon and Bioscan’s subsidiary BMIF, with the support of the local GIE Pharm’image center of excellence in pharmaco-imaging research. Pharm’image was initiated under the leadership of the Dijon-based company Oncodesign Biotechnology, headed by Philippe Genne. The Pharm’image cluster brings together multidisciplinary expertise and technology platforms to improve the pharmacological evaluation of novel therapeutics.
The IMAPPI project is supported by the Institute of Molecular Chemistry at the University of Burgundy (ICMUB). It is coordinated by Professor François Brunotte for the PRES de Bourgogne/Franche-Comté; Professor Brunotte is also Chairman of the Scientific Committee of GIE Pharm’image.
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