On 11th June 2021 the Research Council of Norway announced that IC Targets AS is among the few selected companies out of 232 applicants whose grants were awarded under the call “Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector 2021”. This NOK 15,5 million non-dilutive grant is for the NOK 22 million R&D project “Mangafodipir-enhanced MRI for myocardial characterization in Heart Failure”. IC-T has already obtained use patents in the major markets for cardiac applications using manganese- based MRI agents including mangafodipir. To strengthen the IPR for cardiac applications in non-ischemic heart diseases on 7 June 2021 a new patent application was filed, with the title: “Mangafodipir-enhanced MRI for myocardial characterization in Heart Failure”. The main objective for the current project is to obtain clinical Proof of Concept within the cardiac field of use covered by the new patent application.
The primary objectives of this 2,5 years project will be to measure the two determinants of myocardial stiffness in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) using a novel, disruptive manganese-based MRI T1 mapping method. Success of this project will enable quantification of calcium channel activity at a cellular level with MRI, which represents a major improvement over conventional contrast enhanced imaging. Until recently, all drug therapies that are useful in patients with reduced contractility and ejection fraction have failed in more than 50% of heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction. On 16 February 2021, Novartis’ drug Entresto® was approved by the FDA as the first drug for treatment of HFpEF. This FDA approval opens an enormous demand for diagnostic methods translating the better understanding of the pathophysiology in subgroups of HFpEF into clinically applicable strategies. No current non-invasive technique can measure the contribution of abnormal relaxation caused by abnormal cardiomyocyte calcium handling. Thus, the success of this innovative project would not only yield a novel contrast agent for Cardiac MRI, but also represent a paradigm shift for MRI, taking it from image contrast enhancement to quantification of cellular processes.
In parallel with the cardiac innovation project, ICT aims to relaunch the product on a global basis for the previously marketed indications for the detection of tumors in the liver and pancreas. The commercial strategy will initially focus on the European and North-American markets. ICT sees a significant potential for the product also in the previously marketed indications.