Boston upstart raises $46M, makes acquisition for translational imaging in biopharma R&D

Translational design images taken by inviCRO--Courtesy of inviCRO

inviCRO has raised $45.8 million in its first disclosed financing to offer imaging services and analysis to aid drug research and development, according to an SEC filing. The financing is mix of equity and debt and came just as the Boston, MA-based startup acquired peer Molecular Neuroimaging (MNI) to add its neurological imaging capabilities.

The startup was founded in 2008 and this deal is just its latest. In 2014, inviCRO helped open the Translational Imaging Center in Mattawan, MI that it co-manages with MPI Research and 3D Imaging; inviCRO provides molecular imaging, while 3D imaging offers radiopharmaceutical services and MPI contributes its CRO services. Last year, it also acquired a Seattle-based histology team.

"We have long been focused on improving the paradigm of cost-effective, time-efficient drug development efforts through imaging," said inviCRO co-founder and CEO Dr. Jack Hoppin in a statement.

The idea is to offer comprehensive imaging ranging from tissue to human-scale and contribute to translational drug discovery and subsequent research and development. The MNI acquisition is intended to round out its offerings in neurology.

"MNI's clinical trial model is a tremendous platform on which inviCRO can expand its clinical offerings and ensure that there is a fully translational imaging service offering for any therapeutic area," added inviCRO co-founder and Managing Director Dr. Christian Lackas.

He added, "The clinical capabilities will be further leveraged by the use of inviCRO's advanced analytics capabilities and leading software platforms, VivoQuant and iPACS, which are used to manage, organize, and process both nonclinical and clinical imaging data for our pharmaceutical, device and life sciences research customers."

inviCRO has been more focused on early stage research through lead candidate selection; it's expected that with its radioligand development capabilities, MNI will help it expand into early clinical trials. Radioligands are used to study receptor systems in the body, with particular usefulness in the brain. MNI also does large scale clinical imaging for radiopharmaceuticals as well as work on Phase 2 and Phase 3 pharma development.

- here is the MNI announcement and the SEC filing