Diagnostic Imaging Continues to Garner Investor Interest

Posted by | May 21, 2010

On the heels of the BIO International Convention, I came across this piece by FierceBiotech’s Maureen Martino highlighting a panel of biotech VCs who made some interesting observations about the state of the biotech market. I was particularly struck by some of Joe Regan’s thoughts.
Joe is with Canadian VC Growth Works Capital, and he mentioned that he was interested in companies in the medical imaging space because it’s an area that’s becoming increasingly vital to planning clinical trials for successful outcomes.

I tend to agree with Joe and believe medical imaging, specifically diagnostic imaging, is an area that will experience significant growth over the next three to five years. At Safeguard Scientifics, we are looking at technologies that offer a non-invasive option for detection, and in some circumstances EARLY detection, of various diseases currently only available through costly tests and operations, or not at all.

Diagnostic imaging has the potential to identify diseases earlier and more accurately. This will ultimately have a positive impact on the therapeutic marketplace, which, as Joe correctly observes, is vital to planning clinical trials.

For instance, detecting Alzheimer’s pathology early in the disease state might lead to better patient management. Currently, accurate diagnosis during life can be challenging, particularly in the early states of the disease, when symptoms are mild, non-definitive, and can be mistaken for other conditions. One of Safeguard’s partner companies, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, has a compound, Florbetapir, in Phase III clinical trials for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

This Wall Street Journal article is the best article I’ve read that explains the value of radioactive isotopes, such as Avid’s, for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to Avid, The Wall Street Journal’s health care writer Shirley S. Wang also notes that Bayer AG and General Electric Company are working on similar Alzheimer’s technologies.

The long-term benefits to society are great — lower medical costs and a better quality of life for patients. And, although Joe never really says it in the article, I know he was thinking the same thing as me: Aren’t these the objectives of any worthy life science partnership?

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