Firm says combining tau and amyloid beta imaging will facilitate diagnosing disease severity.

GE Healthcare initiated a research collaboration with Japanese firm Clino to discover in vivo imaging agents for tau proteins in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients. Working together, the firms say they will also consider collaborating with other companies and research institutes developing tau protein therapies.

Clino was established to commercialize medical research engineering products originating from Tohoku  University Biomedical Engineering Organization. The start-up company operates four departments: materials, sensing, treatment, and imaging. The imaging department is focused on developing a diagnostic PET probes for Alzheimer disease, including a tau probe and a light imaging probe that binds to amyloid beta and/or tau proteins.

“The collaboration we are announcing today is part of our ongoing effort to understand and identify Alzheimer disease in its very early stages,” comments Pascale Witz, CEO of GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics. “The combination of our different business offerings positions us well to offer an integrated global diagnostics solution for the next generation of therapies.”

GE already has exclusive rights to 11C-PIB, a PET contrast agent for beta amyloid detection developed by the University of Pittsburgh. The firm maintains that if the venture with Clino results in the identification of agents that can distinguish tau accumulation it will be possible to diagnose the severity of Alzheimer symptoms and facilitate the development of drugs that target tau proteins at the molecular levels.

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