CULVER CITY, Calif., July 11, 2012 — Sofie Biosciences, Inc., a molecular imaging company offering a comprehensive range of products from preclinical imaging systems to novel diagnostic PET imaging probes, announced today that the Department of Energy has awarded the company a grant under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This Phase II award, for approximately $1M, will support the development of a microscale technology for rapid, easy synthesis of PET probes. Presently, scientists and clinicians must accept the limitations of the centralized radiopharmacy model of PET probe production and distribution, where a limited number of probes are available from radiochemistry cores or, more often, commercial radiopharmacies that provide an even smaller menu from which to choose. The end result is that the average investigator is restricted to a handful of PET probes, namely [18F]FDG, [18F]NaF, and occasionally [18F]FLT, leaving the 1,600+ probes that have been synthesized just out of reach, thus drastically limiting the translational power of PET to a few disciplines and applications.
“We are extremely pleased to be recognized with this highly competitive award from DOE,” said Patrick W. Phelps, President and CEO. “It’s an important step to further the development of a proprietary, game-changing technology that will provides researchers and clinicians with a first-generation device for the production of one-pot PET probes.”
These funds will be invested alongside Sofie resources to help broaden access to novel PET probes to answer fundamental biological questions in disease. “Winning this grant from DOE both supports and accelerates our efforts to bring radiochemistry-on-chip to market, a critical step in Sofie’s vision of creating a transformative technology of an affordable, compact, easy-to-use system for the on-demand production of PET probes,” commented Dr. Melissa Esterby, Director, Technology Development, who will be the Principal Investigator working in close collaboration with co-PI and inventor Dr. R. Michael van Dam at UCLA.