Underlining the growing importance of medical imaging technology to cost-efficient drug development, Irish contract research organisation (CRO) ICON has acquired Timaq Medical Imaging, a leading European provider of advanced imaging services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, for an undisclosed sum.

Clinical trials have increasing recourse to medical imaging, whether for inclusion criteria, safety assessment or as secondary and surrogate endpoints that support early ‘go/no-go’ decisions. ICON itself is already a leader in the use of core imaging laboratories, having conducted more than 500 imaging trials on behalf of clients worldwide, the company notes.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Timaq was co-founded in 2003 by Dr Gustav von Schulthess, chairman of radiology and director of the Nuclear Medicine Department at the University Hospital of Zurich.

As ICON pointed out, Professor von Schulthess is one of the pioneers of combined PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) imaging, which can show metabolic or chemical activity in the body, as well as the body’s anatomical structures, as a single, fused image.

According to Ted Gastineau, president of ICON Medical Imaging, Timaq will complement the CRO’s existing US Medical Imaging operations by giving ICON a European base for the business.

“Alongside the immediate access to an experienced imaging team, Timaq’s strong links to leading medical institutions gives us access to important scientific expertise in the imaging field that will bring significant benefits to our clients,” Gastineau commented.
ICON’s global footprint will enable the combined resources to support “even the largest multi-country imaging studies”, von Schulthess added.