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12:00 AM
 | 
Dec 12, 2005
 |  BioCentury  |  Tools & Techniques

Visualizing new partnerships

Seeing is Believing

Visualizing new partnerships

In the last three to four years, the major instrument companies have concluded that the potential impact of molecular imaging on drug discovery and development justifies major investments in the field. As a result, companies such as GE Healthcare, Philips Medical Systems, Siemens Medical Solutions and Toshiba Corp. all have gotten into the act.

The interest of the instrumentation giants in actually collaborating with pharma is relatively new - and is crucial if the technologies are to be truly industrialized.

"Two years ago, these companies would have closed the door if I had suggested that they should get involved in clinical trials with us," said David Lester of Pfizer Inc. (PFE, New York, N.Y.). "Now they want to be at the table because they have realized that the diagnostics of the future will be the clinical trial endpoints that we are and will be using more and more."

Lester, who is New York site head, worldwide clinical technologies, for Pfizer Global R&D, expects partnerships between pharma and instrument companies to acknowledge that pharma's expertise is chemistry, not medical technologies. Thus pharma companies will be providing the directions, with the instrumentation companies driving much of the change and filling the technology gaps.

"It is going to be a completely different landscape, with the partners mapping out their territories more carefully so that all stakeholders understand who is accountable and responsible for each part of the process," said Lester. "Once that is done, imaging's uptake and subsequent impact will be faster. I am seeing the beginning of that shift now and it is very exciting."

General Electric Co. (GE, Piscataway, N.J.), put its stake in the ground in 2004, when it paid $9.5 billion in stock to acquire Amersham plc, arguably the leading producer of contrast imaging agents. GE merged its Medical Systems division with Amersham...

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