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VisEn Medical partners Fox Chase Cancer Center to develop ′smart’ fluorescence imaging agents

VisEn Medical : 18 June, 2008  (Company News)
Fox Chase Cancer Center and VisEn Medical has formed a partnership to advance Phase I clinical trials of one of VisEn Medical's ‘smart’ fluorescence activatable imaging agents to enable physicians to identify and characterise early stage disease in oncology patients.
Olympus Medical Systems will provide paired fluorescence laparoscopic imaging systems to enable the detection and evaluation of ProSense highlighted tumours in patients in the trials. The clinical trials will initially focus on ovarian cancer and are planned to begin in 2009 at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Under terms of the programme, VisEn will develop and submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application on a clinical analogue of its proprietary fluorescence molecular imaging agent, ProSense, which highlights certain enzymatic processes associated with early stage cancer development in vivo. In addition to conducting the clinical trials, Fox Chase Cancer Center will invest in the ProSense clinical programme through VisEn and will receive certain rights, equity and royalties on future sales.

'These clinical molecular imaging technologies should provide the foundations for earlier and more accurate disease detection, and more importantly, enhanced functional imaging capabilities that will eventually help guide therapeutic interventions,' said Michael V Seiden, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Fox Chase Cancer Center. 'Promoting advances in diagnosis that may lead to improved cancer treatments is a key part of Fox Chase's approach to solving the cancer problem, and we are pleased to be working with two of the leaders in molecular imaging to help bring these new approaches into clinical medicine.'

'We are gratified for the opportunity to work jointly with Fox Chase Cancer Center and Olympus Corporation to develop the first clinical applications of our fluorescence molecular imaging technology platforms,' said Kirtland Poss, president and chief executive officer of VisEn Medical. 'This programme is a major step forward in VisEn Medical's central mission, which is to lead the development and commercialisation of fluorescence in vivo imaging technologies in a range of translational applications from research through clinical medicine, enabling substantial benefits for researchers, pharmaceutical companies, doctors and patients.'

Both Dr Seiden and Poss noted the contributions to the project by Olympus Medical Systems. 'We are pleased to receive the system support from Olympus Medical System through their provision of these novel fluorescence imaging systems into the programme,' said Poss. 'These advances will help open up new opportunities for more effective and efficient cancer detection, surgery and treatment.'

The ProSense Activatable Imaging Agent platform was developed to provide in vivo readouts of some of the key protease activities known to underlie disease states in oncology, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. A pre-clinical version of ProSense is currently being used by leading academic institutions and pharmaceutical customers worldwide to image disease-related in vivo protease profiles in pre-clinical research and drug development.

The IND programme and the planned Phase I clinical trials are designed to translate the benefits of ProSense into humans, as well as to further develop the multi-channel white light and near infrared fluorescence laparoscopic imaging systems used in collecting and analysing fused images in real time in the operating room. The planned trial is also designed to gather safety and imaging data for the agent, which will be administered systemically, and to collect preliminary pharmacokinetic information on the metabolism of the agent to support expanded Phase II clinical trials.

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