A Medical Device Daily

A new report from Frost & Sullivan (London) says that the introduction of new technologies is set to revitalize the increasingly mature European nuclear medical imaging markets. “Despite relative stability, innovative and enhanced imaging techniques such as SPECT will energies the saturated gamma camera segment. Moreover, PET-CT scanners will rapidly replace existing PET systems, resulting in revenue attenuation,“ according to the F&S analysis.

F&S put 2005 revenues for the European nuclear medicine imaging systems markets at $155.7 million and estimates that it will reach $138.9 million in 2010.

“Increased attention towards molecular imaging will be one of the key drivers for the nuclear medicine market,“ notes Srividya Badrinarayanan, F&S industry analyst. “As R&D focus shifts towards molecular imaging, the advancements in and the presence of imaging modalities for nuclear imaging would be very essential for its growth.“

Molecular imaging, because it is able to provide providing detailed information about diseases and methods to treat them, will promote the uptake of advanced technologies in nuclear medicine imaging.

Saturation in the gamma market can be overcome only through the introduction of new applications. In the case of the PET scanners market, the availability of its radioisotopes will generate additional interest among end users, according to F&S.

“Constant technological innovation is one of the key factors for the growth of this market,“ says Badrinarayanan. “Companies need to continually develop and introduce new technologies as well as expand clinical applications for the present one – all of which requires increased R&D efforts and a focus on evolving customer preferences.“

Also, an adequate focus on partnering with radiopharmaceuticals companies will help market participants offer comprehensive solutions to customers.

Primagen gets expanded CD133 license

Primagen Holding (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), a molecular diagnostics company, reported that the exclusive, worldwide license for the CD133 diagnostic biomarker has been expanded to include the cardiovascular field. Primagen originally licensed the CD133 biomarker from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center .

CD133 is a genetic expression marker for presence of developing endothelial cells in the peripheral blood circulation and is associated with angiogenesis, the growth of new capillary blood vessels. Clinical research from several academic centers in Europe and the U.S. has shown that CD133 is a promising prognostic indicator of tumor growth.

“New research suggests that the CD133 biomarker can also be used to determine blood vessel growth in cardiovascular disease and to monitor patient progress following surgery,“ said Bob van Gemen, CEO of Primagen. “In contrast to cancer, where blood vessel growth is associated with disease progression and tumor growth, it is a positive indicator for recovery from cardiovascular surgery. The ability to measure recovery progress can ultimately help physicians better manage patient treatment.“

Primagen said it is developing molecular diagnostic products based on the measurement of CD133 expression in peripheral blood cells. By assessing the presence of CD133, these diagnostic tests can help physicians maximize patient treatment.

Primagen has two proprietary molecular product lines on the market: the Mitox products measure mitochondrial DNA and RNA in clinical samples with unmatched accuracy; and the Dry Fluid Spot (DFS) Rainbow product brings HIV-1 viral load measurement to resource-poor environments.

Current Technology to focus on Europe

Current Technology (Vancouver, British Columbia) reported that Thomas Byrne, co-founder and managing director of Anchorage Capital Partners (ACP), the company's corporate finance and investment advisor, has recommended focusing its European capital raising efforts on the Venture Capital Trust community in the UK.

“There are a number of compelling reasons for this focus on the tax-assisted VCT market,“ said Robert Kramer, CEO of Current. “Hundreds of millions of pounds sterling have been raised from investors by VCTs this year. Importantly,

VCTs must hold their investments for at least three years to maximize tax benefits. Finally, recent changes in tax legislation in the UK which took effect April 6, eliminated the ability of VCTs to invest in larger more established enterprises, making investments in smaller entities such as ours more likely.“

Current Technology is developing non-invasive pulsed electro-stimulation technology, developing two separate and distinct products emanating from the TrichoGenesis platform that offer help for those concerned with their hair: ElectroTrichoGenesis (ETG) and CosmeticTrichoGenesis (CTG).

“We have received particular interest from VCTs in the UK,“ said Byrne. “Because of the VCT's structure, which is a tax driven one, they have an appetite for taking a longer term view on investments. Indeed, they are motivated by tax legislation to hold their investments for at least three years. We believe this new approach should prove to be a successful strategy for Current Technology's plans for expansion into the UK.“

Following ACP's recommendation, a submission has been made to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs for approval in principle for a VCT to invest in the company on the condition the funds would in turn be advanced to its wholly owned UK subsidiary for expansion in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. A determination on this matter is expected within the next three or four weeks, the company said.

“We believe we have a good chance of obtaining approval in principle,“ Kramer said, “and further believe the recent changes which were made in the UK's tax code will assist us in completing a transaction with VCT investors. To that end, we recently delivered an ETG [ElectroTrichoGenesis] Mark 1 to London so that prospective investors could familiarize themselves with our technology.“