m2m Imaging seeks high ground of MR scanning

June 18, 2007

As its name might suggest, m2m (molecules to man) Imaging has the expertise to build just about any MR coil imaginable, including unconventional cryogenic coils. Now it is closing in on coils supercooled by helium for use in preclinical studies.

As its name might suggest, m2m (molecules to man) Imaging has the expertise to build just about any MR coil imaginable, including unconventional cryogenic coils. Now it is closing in on coils supercooled by helium for use in preclinical studies.

"We're looking for places to put this first run of coils - dedicated sites where we can get user feedback," Bill Thoma, Ph.D., the company's West Region Manager told DI SCAN last month at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine meeting.

The ISMRM meeting seemed an ideal place for such prospecting. The company's international orientation toward R&D reflects its genesis: a merger late last year between two firms spun out from universities half a world apart - Supertron Technologies from Columbia University in New York City and Spin Systems from the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia.

Supertron's focus had been on developing next-generation MR coils based on technology developed largely from research funded by U.S. government grants. Spin Systems had grown from research done at the Centre for UQ Magnetic Resonance. This included developing radiofrequency coils, gradients, and animal/object handling systems for vertical bore NMR magnets.

Today, m2m Imaging develops advanced technologies for individual research groups as well as OEMs. The firm also leverages its expertise to build devices for animal handling, physiological monitoring, and gating, as well as phantoms for scanner quality assurance.

The custom-made coil products are built for individual clients, such as pharmaceutical companies performing preclinical research. Company executives had hoped by now to lock into a single product design with wide appeal ( Start-up focuses on superconducting surface coils ). Developing coils for low-field scanners was an initial effort, but the market for these scanners has dropped to virtually zero in recent years.

"From a revenue point of view, we would like to get a product into mass production, but right now we are not that kind of shop," Thoma said. "So we are looking at what people want and customizing it to their kind of work. We can meet demand from the research side very quickly."