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ImaginAb and Duke-NUS Launch Imaging Biomarker Development Lab (IBDL)

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ImaginAb, Inc. recently announced that it has entered into a partnership with the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) to establish a joint corporate laboratory to develop new in vivo molecular imaging agents to study cancer biology and immune function. ImaginAb is a U.S. clinical-stage company that develops in vivo molecular imaging agents based on a proprietary antibody fragment technology platform. ImaginAb’s mission is to transform the clinical management of cancer and autoimmune diseases via targeted molecular imaging.

Under the terms of the agreement, the parties will establish protein engineering and molecular imaging capabilities designed to interface with Duke-NUS’s “Signature Research Programs” (SRPs) in cancer & stem cell biology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, neurobiology and immunology. The new facilities will also be used to support ImaginAb’s R&D activities.

Termed the “Imaging Biomarker Development Lab” (IBDL), the joint laboratory is the latest initiative under the National Research Foundation (NRF) Corp Lab @ University scheme. The IBDL program represents a $15 million commitment between ImaginAb, Duke-NUS and the NRF. The laboratory will also be accessible to industry and academic collaborators with the objective of developing precision medicine strategies for the treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases.

“We are pleased to welcome ImaginAb to Duke-NUS. We have high expectations that molecular imaging will become a key facet of precision medicine and has the potential to significantly advance our existing disease biology and biomarker platforms,” noted Prof. Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean (Research) of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. “Joint industry-academic partnerships can add tremendous value to research programs, infrastructure and create new learning opportunities. Both ImaginAb and Duke-NUS have many international biopharma collaborators that are also keen to access these new capabilities,” he added.

The IBDL will incorporate several specialty core facilities designed to operate in an integrated fashion with Duke-NUS’ existing research services. The IBDL will uniquely feature a state-of-the-art molecular imaging facility, operating within Duke-NUS’s Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) space, an invaluable resource for immunology-based research.

“The IBDL is a significant addition to ImaginAb’s translational research capabilities in cancer and immunology”, stated Dr. Anna Wu, co-founder and Chief Scientist of ImaginAb. “Through the IBDL collaboration, we can develop and validate new molecular imaging probes in a pathogen-free environment. This should support significant research in cancer immunology – including cell therapies – and inflammatory diseases, all of which require very sophisticated models and a highly controlled research setting. The fact that the joint lab with Duke-NUS is located on the vibrant Singapore General Hospital biomedical sciences campus, 100 meters from a Phase I unit and in close proximity to world-class clinical facilities, is particularly exciting.”

Prof Low Teck Seng, the chief executive of NRF, said: “This latest Corp Lab @ University collaboration brings together the antibody engineering expertise of ImaginAb and biologics research capabilities in Singapore universities and research institutes. The new facility opens up opportunities for scientists here and strengthens Singapore’s position in the pharmaceutical value chain.”

Dr. Christian Behrenbruch, co-founder and CEO of ImaginAb commented, “The creation of IBDL with our partner, Duke-NUS, represents the strategic consolidation of our company’s pre-clinical imaging and IND-enabling activity in Singapore. It is also an opportunity to access high-quality biological resources relevant to Asia-centric patient populations, of growing interest to our company. ImaginAb has been collaborating and conducting important development work in Singapore for several years and we have been extremely impressed by the quality of research infrastructure and human capital. We particularly appreciate the support of the NRF to establish this unique laboratory.”

Source: ImaginAb