Pharmimage adds members and extends research platform
23 June 2010
Pharmimage, a French group specialized in the use of imaging
to measure the efficacy of new therapies for the pharmaceutical industry
(pharmaco-imaging), has acquired four new members and plans two major
additions to its research resources.
The announcement was made by Oncodesign, the leader of the
Pharmimage GIE (economic interest group). Oncodesign also said that
one of the new members, Cyclopharma, will make an important
contribution to the group’s research facilities by building a
cyclotron and radiolabeling unit starting this month (June 2010).
Oncodesign, a specialist in the identification of novel cancer
therapies and an active member of Pharmimage, says that the
public–private partnership pharmaco-imaging research centre will
bring together in less than one square kilometre all the skills,
equipment and pre-clinical and clinical imaging technologies needed
for measuring the efficacy of future therapies.
The research platform represents an investment of
€5 million and will be financed by local
public entities (the Regional Council of Burgundy, the General
Council of Côte d’Or and Greater Dijon) and the ERDF (European
Regional Development Fund). It is expected to go live by 2011 and
provide five to ten jobs.
Cyclopharma will build and operate the platform for early stage
research. It will add a cyclotron for scientific and medical use and
a radiochemistry unit to Pharmimage’s existing research facilities.
Access to these two units will enable the radiolabeling of molecules
and the availability of the most important short life isotopes
needed for imaging technologies used in pharmacology.
This equipment will feed two nuclear medicine imaging platforms,
one at Oncodesign, which will be equipped in 2011 with a microcamera
for use with small animals and one at the Georges Leclerc Center for
the Fight against Cancer for clinical research. The new research
centre will also offer services to the pharmaceutical industry,
mainly in oncology and cardiology.
Four new members have joined Pharmimage since the beginning of
the year. They are NVH Medicinal, a biotechnology company, ICTA a
clinical contract research organization, and the Nevers Hospital
Center as well as Cyclopharma. Cyclopharma will bring its
capabilities in radiochemistry to the group, skills that are
essential for the development of radiolabels. With these new
members, Pharmimage now has a complete set of skills to validate new
“We are delighted to see the plans for this research platform
become reality,” said Philippe Genne, CEO of Oncodesign and
administrator of Pharmimage. “This confirms Pharmimage’s unique
position as the most important pharmaco-imaging cluster in France.”
“What particularly attracted Cyclopharma to Pharmimage was the
research it is carrying out into pharmaco-imaging, especially in
biomarkers to measure the efficacy of treatments and diagnostics
using positron emission tomography in oncology,” said Dr Bernard C
Salin CEO and founder of Cyclopharma.
A cyclotron is a particle accelerator that produces radioactive
isotopes. Coupled with molecules of interest, these isotopes make up
labels allowing observations by means of a dedicated camera using
imaging techniques. In 2007, there were 156 cyclotrons being used
partly or wholly for medical purposes in Europe. The great majority
have an energy and intensity that restricts them to the production
In January 2007, France had 27 cyclotrons. The radiolabelling
unit enables the labelling of molecules with radioactive isotopes
produced by the cyclotron. It requires a high level of competence in
radiochemistry. The Dijon cyclotron will initially be able to label
with Fluorine 18, Copper 64 and Carbon 11.