Nanotech research center starts up imaging company

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IMEC, an independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has launched a new company, Pepric, that will develop and commercialize molecular and functional imaging technology based on magnetic nanoparticles for drug development and preclinical studies.

"Nanotechnology and nanoelectronics may prove useful in the development of more accurate and targeted tools for health diagnosis and therapy and a more efficient and cheaper healthcare. We are therefore proud to launch a new start-up that will convert our generic nanoelectronics research into a concrete product that may contribute to the development of targeted drugs," said Ludo Deferm, executive vice president of business development at IMEC.

The new start-up Pepric will develop a technology for in-vivo visualization of magnetic nanoparticles based on magnetic resonance. Visualized nanoparticles that are selectively attached to a certain target molecule enable the direct follow-up of biological processes in which the target molecule is involved, allowing real-time study of the effect of medicines on body parameters.

"In this initial phase of Pepric, we will concentrate on the development of the technology to demonstrate its market potential. That is essential to attract venture capital which is needed to further develop Pepric. The launch of a first commercial application is expected within 3 to 5 years," said Stephanie Teughels, CEO of Pepric.