World-class imaging centre launched
Imanova, a new state-of-the-art imaging centre, was formally launched this week at a showcase event attended by Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, and representatives from the founding organisations.
Imanova is a pioneering public-private collaboration formed by King’s College London, University College London, Imperial College London and the Medical Research Council. From a site previously owned by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Imanova now plans to become an internationally renowned imaging centre and partner of choice for industry looking to use its world-class imaging facilities.
At the launch David Willetts MP highlighted the Government’s support for the collaborative approach that Imanova is pioneering. He said: ‘The Government’s life sciences strategy underlined the importance of collaboration between the research base and industry as a means of driving growth and innovation. Imanova is an excellent example of this. It brings together leading academics and businesses to accelerate drug discovery and development, and is also attracting overseas investment.’
With both PET and MRI scanning in the same centre, Imanova is unique in the UK. This allows researchers to image not only the activity of a medicine in the body, but also its effect on the body systems being studied. As a result researchers can see at an early stage if an investigational medicine is being effective, and discontinue development if it is not. These facilities will help to catalyse translational research, and offer the potential to significantly shorten drug development times.
Kevin Cox, Imanova CEO, said: ‘‘This is a novel collaboration, both between leading academic institutions and between academia and industry, which has been set up to act as a catalyst across the innovation pipeline. Our aim is to accelerate the translation of great science into clinically and commercially relevant products and services.
‘For example, we are currently introducing a new biomarker for schizophrenia to help in novel drug discovery. In oncology we’re implementing novel imaging probes to measure key disease pathways, such as angiogenesis and apoptosis, which will provide invaluable information for the development of new anticancer drugs. This could transform drug discovery in these diseases.’
Since opening last October Imanova has grown from strength to strength. The centre is gaining a firm standing in academic research and the company is now securing its first private partnerships with industry.
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