GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company has announced that it has signed a non-exclusive agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. to share technology on imaging of the lungs that may help to advance respiratory treatment development.
Under terms of the agreement, Merck will be granted access to Spin Signal Technology™ (SST) utilizing hyperpolarized Xenon 129 gas, a molecular imaging agent that is under investigation by GE Healthcare to provide high speed, quantitative imaging of the lung using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). GE Healthcare originally licensed this technology from Princeton University.
This technology is being evaluated to determine if it can provide sensitive information than currently available tests on how diseased lungs function, by using xenon, a gas that can be modified with the SST to be detectable with MRI. With this technology, MRI delivers images that may provide clinical value by allowing regional imaging of disease. This information could enhance that provided by FEV1, the volume exhaled during the first second of a forced expiratory maneuver.
“Imaging the lungs has traditionally been challenging for pharmaceutical companies needing to assess the impact of developmental therapies on lung function. This agreement enables the companies involved in this collaboration to assess in real-time the effect of potential therapeutics in animal models,” said Jonathan Allis, head of the Global Imaging Network at GE Healthcare.
This agreement is part of GE Healthcare’s strategy of helping to accelerate the development of new therapeutics by improving Pharma access to novel molecular imaging agents to assess the impact of potential drugs in animal models and, when appropriate, human subjects, the company has said.