Imanova, a London-based translational research company and a world leader in molecular imaging technologies, announced two major successes last month. Established in 2011 as a joint venture between the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), Imperial College London, King’s College London and University College London, Imanova is focussed on putting London on the map as the innovator in imaging sciences. Read their blog below to find out more.

At the start of November, Imanova announced an important collaboration with Imperial College London as part of Dementias Platform UK’s (DPUK) new Imaging Network, creating the first nationally coordinated PET-MRI network anywhere in the world.

The aim of DPUK is to accelerate research progress and develop knowledge leading to new drug treatments and other therapies that could prevent or delay the onset and progression of dementias. In October 2014, the Chancellor announced £37 million funding for networks of clinical research infrastructure which is being used to establish three national networks for imaging, informatics and cell biology, to significantly enhance the UK’s research capacity in the dementias.

As part of the Imaging Network, DPUK will be purchasing five PET-MRI machines from GE and Siemens, as well as funding 50% of the 3T MRI scanner at Cardiff University.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) enables visualisation of specific molecules, including key markers of dementias, such as the misfolded proteins Amyloid-beta and tau that are the pathological hallmarks of the disease. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) enables imaging of brain structure and physiology. Combining these two powerful imaging techniques will provide researchers and drug developers with a unique tool to better understand disease progression and to monitor the effectiveness of novel therapies.

In collaboration with Imperial College, one of the DPUK funded PET-MRI scanners (GE) will be installed at Imanova in its West London Centre for Imaging Sciences. Through this investment, Imanova will have a total of five clinical scanners to complement its extensive PET radiochemistry facilities that include two cyclotrons and 24 hot cells, placing the company in a unique position to support academic research and drug development for the pharmaceutical industry.

Later in November, Imanova announced its collaboration with Teva Pharmaceuticals and University of London (UCL) on a study aimed at building a better understanding of the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative disease. Imanova will be providing structural and molecular brain imaging with key biomarkers at its state-of-the-art facility based in West London, with the study performed at the Dementia Research Centre and UCL, led by Dr Mummery.

The role of inflammation is key in the field of neurodegeneration, resulting in some of the most devastating neurodegenerative diseases. Microglia play a central role in neuro-inflammation, and defining reliable biomarkers of microglial activation, and their changes over time, will provide crucial information for developing treatment trials with neuro-inflammation as a novel therapeutic target.

Using PET imaging, the Pilot Longitudinal Study in Alzheimer’s Disease of Central Markers of Microglial Activation (PADMMA) will assess the prevalence and pattern of CNS microglial activation in individuals with prodromal Alzheimer’s disease with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease.

Imanova has always taken pride in acting as a conduit between industry and academia to facilitate a bilateral flow of information, allowing the knowledge of academics to be applied and benefit from the industry experience and vice versa. The PADMMA study is a great example of such collaboration and Imanova is excited to bring the knowledge and expertise of our academic partners to facilitate innovation within the industry.

For more details on Imanova’s collaboration with Imperial College London, click here.

For more information on their collaboration with Teva Pharmaceuticals and UCL, click here.