NorthStar expands into cardiac SPECT with new licensing deal

NorthStar Medical Technologies is moving further into the cardiac imaging space after signing a new licensing agreement with St. Louis-based Capella Imaging, the companies announced Tuesday.

As part of the deal, the Beloit, Wisconsin-based radioisotope company has acquired exclusive rights from Capella to develop and investigate a new fibrin-targeted diagnostic imaging agent used in single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) exams.

The compound—FibroScint—is labeled with the radioisotope technetium-99m, and may help patients with a myriad of cardiovascular conditions, such as blood clots associated with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and acute coronary syndrome.

Senior VP and Chief Science Officer of NorthStar, James T. Harvey, PhD, said patients with severe heart failure diagnoses often have few options, which typically include a heart transplant, LVADs or hospice. But he believes more can be done.

“While LVADs significantly improve a patient’s survival and quality of life, they are also associated with complications such as thromboembolic events and gastrointestinal bleeding, and anticoagulation therapies may further exacerbate these bleeding events,” Harvey said in the announcement. “There is a need for diagnostic imaging tools that can inform clinical management and monitoring of heart failure patients using LVADs, with the aim of reducing some of these complications, and NorthStar plans to investigate FibroScint to help meet this need.”

Per the agreement, NorthStar will be investing $1 million in Capella equity as the latter seeks out federal funding grants; both allotments will go toward completing the phase 1 clinical development of the FibroScint imaging agent. NorthStar also has the option to make further equity investment to support future clinical trials. Those payments would be contingent upon meeting certain regulatory and revenue milestones, according to the announcement.

NorthStar also recently announced that it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for two additional molybdenum-99 filling lines at its Columbia, Missouri, production plant. The greenlight means “an immediate increase in Mo-99 production efficiencies” at that location, President and CEO Stephen Merrick said.