Interneuron develops AnatoMark for more exact brain imaging studies

August 5, 1998

Company would like to package device with scannersBrain imaging studies that require image co-registration may get a bit more precise thanks to biopharmaceutical company Interneuron Pharmaceutical. The Lexington, MA, firm has received clearance

Company would like to package device with scanners

Brain imaging studies that require image co-registration may get a bit more precise thanks to biopharmaceutical company Interneuron Pharmaceutical. The Lexington, MA, firm has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its AnatoMark noninvasive head reference system, a device that creates reproducible anatomical markers for brain imaging.

Interneuron develops neurological therapeutic agents. It expects AnatoMark to be used in both clinical settings and drug trials to monitor the course of pharmaceutical therapy.

The system offers physicians a way to take multiple brain scans of a patient with the assurance that the brain will be imaged at the same slice angle each time. The device can also aid in matching images from different modalities, such as MR and CT.

AnatoMark consists of a head localizer that rests on the skull like a headset. Three fiducial marker boxes are attached to the localizer's frame, one at the base of the nose and one at each ear. When the patient is scanned, the markers appear on the image, and from these markers, physicians determine the head's position on successive scans.

Interneuron is developing software that will calculate the exact position of the skull, modifying the slice angle of the scanned image so that ensuing scans are adjusted instantly to the first. The software is in the clinical development stage, but the company emphasizes that the AnatoMark device can be used now with a hospital's workstation software, according to Dr. Taka Kiyoizumi, senior vice president of business management and strategic planning and general manager of the AnatoMark Systems division of Interneuron.

"We decided to go ahead and register this fiduciary marker as a separate device," Kiyoizumi said. "Radiologists can use the markers in the image to manipulate the scans with whatever software they currently have."

The system was developed by research radiologists at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, from whom Interneuron licensed exclusive global rights. Over the next 12 months, Interneuron plans to market the localizer to high-end functional MRI or radiation therapy researchers.

When the software clears clinical trials, the company will expand its marketing program to include multimodality OEMs. Although Interneuron does not currently have any partnerships with imaging equipment manufacturers, it expects to foster these alliances in the future. The company is discussing with MRI manufacturers the potential for incorporating AnatoMark software into imaging devices, Kiyoizumi said. Interneuron hopes OEMs will package the AnatoMark system as an upgrade and market it to hospital radiology departments.

Interneuron is a 10-year-old venture start-up that arose out of research at the Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company went public in March 1990.