Image is everything

Oncodesign, Banook Central Imaging to develop biomarkers for clinical imaging

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DIJON, France—Contract research laboratory Oncodesign andBanook Central Imaging, a company that specializes in the centralized readingof medical images, have begun a partnership to expand the use of new approachesin pharmaco-imaging. While no financial details were released, the partnerswill co-promote joint activities and collaborate to standardize imageacquisition and analysis protocols in early clinical phases. The first phase ofthe collaboration agreement will run three years, and the first results areexpected early next year.
"Oncodesign leads the way in pharmaco-imaging. As well asconducting preclinical proofs of concept, we have a long tradition of strivingto provide our clients with tools for improving the characterization of theirmolecule's therapeutic potential, to expedite clinical trials in humans," saidDr. Philippe Genne, CEO and founder of Oncodesign. "In the coming weeks, ourpartnership with Banook Central Imaging will help us to provide our clientswith practical solutions, ensuring that the measure of efficacy of anticancertherapies is attainable from one phase of development to the next."
Jonathan Ewing, business development director at Oncodesign,says "the overall objective of this collaboration is to provide cancer patientswith more effective treatment solutions by offering them novel pharmaco-imagingapproaches, novel imaging biomarkers and validated image analysis protocols."To this end, he notes, Oncodesign will transfer its preclinical imagingmethodologies, applications and image analysis techniques to Banook CentralImaging for clinical application. For its parts, Ewing says, Banook CentralImaging will work with Oncodesign to provide guidance on the clinicalfeasibility of novel imaging techniques during the preclinical developmentprocess to help optimize the techniques for clinical use.
The companies share common core values, Ewing explains,noting that Banook Central Imaging's capabilities complement Oncodesign's, "asOncodesign brings the imaging approach from the discovery side and BanookCentral Imaging from the clinical." This represents their first collaboration.
"The imaging market offers immense opportunities forcompanies that innovate and develop imaging probes or techniques that willfulfill an unmet critical need. It is essential for studies to be performed andreported in a particular manner without significant variation from one imagingcenter to another. Determining drug candidate potential will also be improvedby getting the most appropriate drugs to the right patients, knowing whethertreatment should be continued or not based on early predictors of activity andby better understanding how novel drug candidates can be used in combinationwith standard therapeutic agents. And all of this can be started from the firstclinical trials, because the biomarker parameters will have been previouslyvalidated pre-clinically," says Ewing.
Imaging capabilities are particularly important in oncology,where determining the efficacy of treatments requires more than one approach,such as CT or MRI scans or biopsies. Ewing notes that the advantages of imagingover biopsies include "non-invasive evaluation, detection of tumor recurrence[and] eliminating the exposure of normal tissue to radiation thanks tomolecular imaging."
"However, many targeted therapies exert anti-cancer effectsthat are cytostatic rather than cytotoxic, making early responses difficult toappreciate according to RECIST criteria," says Ewing. "Instead of conventionalCT/MRI to assess novel therapies, we see a significant interest in developingand validating specific imaging biomarkers (dynamic contract-enhanced CT andMRI, PET imaging of molecular pathway receptors, etc.) to demonstrate thebiological activity of the various classes of targeted therapies."
"It is crucial thatthe challenges of standardizing biomarkers in pharmaco-imaging are consideredfrom the early phases of clinical development," said Dr. Pascal Voiriot, MSc,chairman of Banook Central Imaging. "Our partnership with Oncodesign is in linewith our strategy, which aims to implement relevant biomarkers in medicalimaging, focusing ultimately on personalized medicine and the ability toproduce a considerable time saving for the direct benefit of researchlaboratories and patients."

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