Imanova Limited is a world-leading research centre for imaging sciences housed in the Burlington Danes building on the Hammersmith Hospital campus. They undertake imaging science research and biomarker development, whilst considering the valuable application of this in early drug development.
Formed in an innovative alliance between Imperial College London, King’s College London, UCL and the UK’s Medical Research Council in 2011, the facility holds world-class capabilities and a collaborative environment for both academics and commercial clients. Imanova benefits from state-of-the-art technology including scanning equipment (as featured in the video below), radio-ligand development and manufacture, and imaging research methodology.
Imanova’s imaging research includes Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) studies, which can be used to image the body’s internal structures and the movement of molecules within the body providing valuable insight for researchers. Whilst the technology can be used in a number of research areas, it is often used in neurology to understand the innermost activities of the brain. The Imperial Division of Brain Sciences works closely with Imanova, which hosts a number of Imperial research studies in neuroscience and mental health.
Imanova also has radiochemical sciences capabilities, meaning radiotracers can be both developed and utilised in-house. Their research in biomarker development uses a structured process involving the design of radio-labelled probes for specific biological targets, in silico selection of leading candidates and clinical validation of the biomarker.
The centre conducts a number of research projects for commercial clients also, providing a means to test early stage drugs in first-in-human trials. Using radio-labelled compounds, PET imaging can allow researchers to study drugs under development to discover how these distribute in the body, whether they are reaching their target and at what concentration. Conversely, MRI can be used to determine structural changes and to visualise brain activation during tasks using functional MRI (fMRI).
Throughout Imanova’s first 18 months a number of outstanding achievements have been accomplished, including:
- Establishing research assignments with over 150 researchers, including over 80 Imperial researchers,
- Having over 100 clinical studies at various stages of evolution,
- Introducing 13 ‘good manufacturing practice’ (GMP) tracers,
- Making significant progress in delivering commercial studies with six new customers,
- Publishing 21 peer reviewed articles and 11 platform presentations at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Meeting in 2013,
- Achieving financial promises for the 2013 financial year.