Duke-NUS has partnered with ImaginAb, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company based in Los Angeles, to establish the Imaging Biomarker Development Lab (IBDL).   A S$15 million initiative under the National Research Foundation (NRF) Corp Lab@University scheme, the IBDL program combines Duke-NUS’ extensive research expertise with ImaginAb’s antibody engineering technology.

The IBDL paves the way for the study of cancer biology, and brain and immune function, with an Asian focus.   These new capabilities are aligned with Duke-NUS’ Signature Research Programs in cancer and stem cell biology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, neuroscience and immunology, as well as ImaginAb’s R&D activities in oncology and immunology.

Dr Christian P Behrenbruch, CEO of ImaginAb, is excited about the partnership: “The advantage of medical imaging is that it enables real-time and quantitative measurement of molecular interactions in vivo without taking tissue biopsies or disrupting the biological state of tissue.   One of the reasons why we were interested to establish our capability at Duke-NUS is because there is some leading research in disease areas that are of local and regional significance.

“Asian cancer pheno/genotypes are distinct and there are some excellent biological resources at Duke-NUS that we plan to use.   We also hope to investigate some infectious disease areas that are of direct and pressing consequence to the Singapore public health landscape.”

Prof Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean of Research at Duke-NUS, welcomes the partnership: “The IBDL serves as a core facility for Duke-NUS to support drug discovery and development.   More importantly, it is also made accessible to industry and academic collaborators.   It provides preclinical Positron Emission Tomography (PET), as well as gamma counting and radiometabolite analysis capabilities. Support and expertise includes applying applications of molecular imaging, preclinical model development, radiopharmaceuticals and image acquisition and analysis. “These capabilities enable the evaluation of biodistribution, specificity, clearance and metabolic profiles of new in vivo imaging diagnostic agents.”