Research leads to startup company

May 8th, 2012 | By | Category: 2012, April 26, Issue, Research

A new startup company will use a process developed by professor Stephen DiMagno to improve medical imaging.

The new company, Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals Inc., will use the discovery to develop new imaging agents for use in diagnosis and management of disease, and to help other companies better manufacture imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

DiMagno, a fluorine chemist who began researching this area in 2005, is Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals’ co-founder.

NUtech Ventures, the nonprofit organization responsible for building partnerships between the University of Nebraska and the private sector, worked to evaluate the commercial opportunity and licensed the intellectual property to the startup for development.

Positron emission tomography is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that uses specialized scanners to provide images using radiotracers whose distribution reflects specific metabolic activity in the body at the time of injection. PET is used mainly to study patients with cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

DiMagno found a general way to attach the widely used PET radioactive isotope, 18F, to different carrier models. The methodology creates more potent imaging agents more rapidly, reliably and in high yields.

DiMagno said the startup should boost the availability of existing experimental PET agents and support the more efficient development of new PET imaging agents.

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