Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, March 9, 2020 - IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT), the world’s leading provider of solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer as well as producer of cyclotrons for PET applications, and The MNI (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) announce the reinforcement of their collaboration for the development of novel tracers for pre-clinical and clinical applications in neurology and oncology.

The Neuro has worked with IBA for over 30 years. The first 18 MeV IBA cyclotron was installed at The Neuro’s McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC) in 1990 and is still completely operational today, thanks to IBA’s extensive upgrade program. This new collaborative project constitutes a great opportunity to prolong this long-term partnership and to strengthen even further the decades-old alliance. “IBA is convinced that the MNI is the ideal partner for future scientific endeavors and a beta site for IBA developments” said Bruno Scutnaire, President at IBA RadioPharma Solutions.

In fact, The BIC offers a dynamic multidisciplinary research environment that fosters collaboration and leverages discovery aimed at improving the health of individual patients across their lifespan. The BIC was built to facilitate investigator-initiated and discovery-driven research that creates new knowledge in healthcare research along the whole spectrum of investigative activities. This involves fundamental biomedical research, patient-oriented and applied clinical research, research on health services and health systems, as well as population and health promotion research, including societal and cultural effects on health.

Under the new research agreement, IBA has installed a Synthera® radiosynthesizer at the BIC.  This novel technology and equipment has been used by BIC researchers to develop a new drug submission (NDS), now approved by Health Canada, for routine production of 18FDG, the most widely used radiopharmaceutical in the world. With the additional installation of a new Synthera®+ platform, the BIC now has the necessary infrastructure to develop novel tracers for pre-clinical and clinical applications in neurology and oncology, in collaboration with IBA.

“The development of novel PET radiopharmaceuticals aimed at an ever expanding array of biochemical targets in the nervous system is critical to understanding normal and pathological functions of the brain,” said Dr. Julien Doyon, PhD, FRSC, Director of the BIC. “That principle has consistently guided the way radiochemistry operates at the PET Unit, where one of the largest variety of such agents in the world is available, a key factor in the successes of the BIC over a very long period of time!” Dr Jean-Paul Soucy, MD, MSc, Director of the PET Unit at the BIC, noted. The Director of the Cyclotron/Radiochemistry Laboratory, Dr Gassan Massarweh, PhD, remarked: “The strengths of the PET Unit in terms of radiopharmaceuticals development and implementation for research uses combined with those of IBA’s automated radiosynthesis modules will synergize to create a unique environment for maintaining the excellence of PET research at the BIC”.

In addition, IBA has recently invited researchers from The Neuro and McGill University to participate in a European project to develop long awaited radiotracers for Parkinson’s disease. “We asked the BIC at The Neuro to contribute to this exciting project because of their well-established experience in radiochemistry and clinical practice in the field” said David Goblet, Senior Radiochemist at IBA.
“An alpha-synuclein radiotracer represents the new frontier in radiochemistry with multiple applications not only for Parkinson’s disease, but also for Lewy body disease, multiple system atrophy and comorbidities with Alzheimer’s disease. Alpha-synuclein imaging will change our current views regarding aging and neurodegeneration”. Dr Pedro Rosa-Neto, MD, PhD, a BIC Member with an exceptional research track record in imaging neurodegenerative conditions, added.