GE and Amersham collaborate to develop PET synthesizer

December 26, 2001

GE Medical Systems and Amersham Health announced at the RSNA meeting that they are teaming up to develop molecular imaging technologies for PET. Their first joint project will involve development of a PET synthesis system to

GE Medical Systems and Amersham Health announced at the RSNA meeting that they are teaming up to develop molecular imaging technologies for PET. Their first joint project will involve development of a PET synthesis system to produce a new generation of targeted molecular pharmaceuticals. PET agents that might help diagnose or monitor cancer and Parkinson's disease are early goals.

The expansion of clinical PET depends heavily on the proximate production of FDG, requiring cyclotrons and their integrated synthesizers. Amersham and GE hope to develop a portable synthesizer that will combine positron-emitting fluorine with other molecules. This synthesizer ideally might be located in radiopharmacies or even near the PET scanner itself, said Amersham Health CEO John Padfield.

"This would make PET much more user-friendly," he said. "It would give a higher level of (radioisotope) activity and, we hope, allow more procedures to be conducted."

FDG, which is widely used in the assessment of cancer and other diseases, is among the prime candidates for remote production. F-dopa, which could open the door to better diagnosis and evaluation of patients with Parkinson's disease, is also a possibility. A synthesizer capable of producing one or both radiopharmaceuticals could be ready for regulatory review within two years, Padfield said.

The two companies bring different but complementary capabilities to the partnership. Amersham Health is aggressively developing noninvasive molecular imaging markers to detect and monitor disease. Through its Imanet initiative, the company is working with leading pharmaceutical firms to identify how PET might complement new therapeutic drugs. GE is a major provider of PET scanners, cyclotrons, and PET chemistry synthesizers. GE also recently acquired Coincidence Technologies, a developer of advanced PET chemistry synthesizers.