Icon has expanded its early-phase medical imaging services business, citing greater use of the technology in clinical development.
The contract research organisation (CRO) has developed a new set of processes and procedures designed to maximise the information collected from image data and to ensure it is processed rapidly in line with the shorter timelines and requirements of early-phase research
Icon emphasised the time savings possible using the service, which standardises data and allows for centralised analysis and interpretation of data. Ted Gastineau, President, Icon Medical Imaging, said: “PET, volumetrics, advanced CT and MRI are increasingly being used in early phase research which has created a demand for more tailored imaging solutions for early phase trials.
“We have developed a unique and cost-effective solution that provides true insight to the data generated from imaging technologies and helps clients decide earlier about the future success of a drug.”
Icon has a track record of providing this type of service. Earlier this year Swiss drug major Roche signed an agreement with that enabled it to implement the CRO's MIRA system under a software-as-a-service (SaaS) agreement.
At the time Icon's group president of clinical research framed the deal as a way of deepening the firm's relationship with Roche, suggesting that the flexibility and cost advantages of the SaaS approach may result in it winning more work from the Swiss drugmaker.
Icon has been building its imaging business over the last year. In October 2011 it formed a partnership with radiology services firm vRad , gaining access to 400 registered radiologists at 2,700 facilities around the world.
Before that - also in October - the Ireland-based contract research organisation (CRO) teamed up with Oracle to create a cloud-based trial management system that covers all aspects of clinical research, including imagining.
Image management is something of a focus – all puns intended – for the research services sector at the moment with Bioclinica and Parexel among the other CROs that have invested in this area in recent times.
This has increased competition,which is something that Icon recognizes according to Icon's Andrew Kraus who spoke to Outsourcing-pharma.com when the firm signed the Roche deal earlier this year.
“Imaging remains a competitive space as is the case with all CRO services. CROs that embrace change, improve processes and use innovation to deliver real operational and cost efficiencies to clients are better able to differentiate themselves in this competitive space.”
He went on to explain that the Pharma industry’s focus on developing targeted therapies – which necessitates the use of biomarkers earlier in the clinical lifecycle than drugs with a broader population base - had created the imaging services management market and would sustain it going forward.
This idea fits with another recent Icon investment. In September , the Ireland-headquartered firm added bioanalytical capacity at it labs in Manchester, UK and New York, US, citing demand for biomarker services as the driver.