Merck, GE Healthcare ink respiratory imaging drug development deal

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GE Healthcare has signed a non-exclusive agreement with Merck to share technology on imaging of the lungs for respiratory treatment development.

Under terms of the agreement, GE said that 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, to provide imaging of the lung using MRI.

GE said it originally licensed the SST technology from Princeton University.

“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, chief of the global imaging network at GE.

The agreement is part of GE’s strategy to accelerate the development of new therapeutics by improving pharmaceutical access to molecular imaging agents to assess the impact of potential drugs in animal models and, when appropriate, human subjects, the company said.