Schering, Philips team up in new field of optical breast imaging

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Royal Philips Electronics and Schering announced the formation of an alliance to research, develop and commercialize medical equipment and associated contrast agents for optical imaging at the recent RSNA meeting in Chicago. They anticipate that their collaboration may lead to further expansions to address additional imaging technologies and contrast agents where they would expect synergies to emerge. These two companies have agreed to divide equally all research and development costs as well as all future revenues that would be generated from the contrast agents, medical equipment and related services that comprise this alliance.

As an emerging imaging technology, optical imaging offers the potential of new approaches in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and perhaps other diseases.  Optical imaging employs lasers to illuminate superficial tissue. By combining this technology with an optical dye, early research suggests visualization of tumors might be possible.

The alliance's first development project will combine an optical dye called omocianine (SF-64) from Schering for the diagnosis of breast cancer, currently in Phase I clinical trials, with an enhanced mammography device developed by Philips. In addition, these two companies plan to explore the emerging field of molecular imaging to develop dies that can potentially target breast tumors at the molecular level.