Global nanotechnology research centre, IMEC, has launched a new company that intends to commercialise molecular and functional imaging technology based on magnetic nanoparticles.
The company, called Pepric, is hoping to develop technologies that will address pharmaceutical applications for drug development and clinical trials by combining nanoelectronics and biotechnology.
Through its Human++ programme, Pepric will focus on in vivo visualisation of magnetic nanoparticles based on magnetic resonance.
This will allow magnetic nanoparticles to be attached to a certain molecule in order to track its progress through the patient’s body.
According to IMEC, the benefits of this system are high sensitivity and sharp time resolution that allow for real-time images.
Magnetic labels are also thought to be more stable compared with radioisotopes, reducing the need for specialised facilities for production and manipulation of magnetic nanoparticles.
Stephanie Teughels, chief executive of Pepric, said: ‘In this initial phase of Pepric, we will concentrate on the development of the technology to demonstrate its market potential.
‘That is essential to attract venture capital which is needed to further develop Pepric.
‘The launch of a first commercial application is expected within three to five years.’
Ludo Deferm, executive vice-president of business development at IMEC, said: ‘Nanotechnology and nanoelectronics may prove useful in the development of more accurate and targeted tools for health diagnosis and therapy, and more efficient and cheaper healthcare.
‘We are therefore proud to launch a new start-up that will convert our generic nanoelectronics research into a concrete product that may contribute to the development of targeted drugs.’