Konica Minolta Continues Expansion into Healthcare Tech with Invicro Acquisition

Konica Minolta of Tokyo, Japan, reports that it’s continuing its expansion into healthcare technology with the acquisition of Boston-based Invicro, a provider of imaging services and software for research and drug development, for an undisclosed sum.

Invicro is a global Contract Research Organization (CRO) providing imaging services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry from early phase discovery through late-phase clinical trials. Invicro built these services on a software and analytics platform enabling streamlined large-scale data analytics across any quantitative biomarker readout.

Konica Minolta said the acquisition is designed to accelerate development of its new medical platform to advance precision medicine, discover new therapeutic targets, and develop new technologies and therapeutics.

Earlier this summer Konica Minolta also announced an agreement to purchase genetic testing and analysis company Ambry Genetics Corporation (see story here). It says precision medicine is an emerging approach to healthcare where genetic or molecular analysis is used to match patients with the most appropriate treatment for their specific disease. Precision medicine aims to improve a patients’ quality of life and save the healthcare system money by eliminating unnecessary and ineffective treatments, as well as assist pharmaceutical companies lower the cost and time involved in drug discovery.

“We are a quantitative biomarker company. Whether in medical imaging or digital pathology, we seek to distill complex biological measurements into straightforward decision criteria at each stage of pharmaceutical development,” said Dr. Jack Hoppin, Co-Founder and CEO of Invicro. “Konica Minolta is the ideal partner to accelerate the impact of the informatics platform we have developed and deployed over the past decade. The prospect of working with Konica Minolta and their recently acquired Ambry team on the translation of precision medicine innovations from research trials to clinical offerings is truly inspiring. We’re excited to be a part of the new disruption in the industry being assembled by Konica Minolta.”

“Invicro and Konica Minolta have some of the most powerful digital imaging and data management tools available to biomedical researchers and clinicians,” said Kunihiro Koshizuka, Senior Executive Officer, CTO, Konica Minolta, Inc. “The combination of our tools and expertise creates unparalleled cutting-edge capabilities that we believe are unmatched in the business. While research and development expenses are increasing, the number of medicines approved for use is slow and improving the productivity of new drug development is an important issue for the pharmaceutical industry. We look to offer cost-effective solutions to these problems that pharmaceutical companies face through this new platform.”

No changes will be made to Invicro’s management structure, and Dr. Hoppin will remain on as CEO. Invicro’s business operations will continue as usual, including maintaining current staff and facilities as well as the same unwavering commitment to excellent service and scientific collaboration for sponsors while expanding the firm’s translational offering in medical imaging to pathology and genomics by joining Konica Minolta’s precision medicine platform.

Making R&D More Efficient with Imaging Technologies

Identifying effective biomarkers of disease using imaging technology should accelerate drug discovery innovations by increasing the efficiency of pharmacological testing. Other prospective benefits of precision medicine are said to be more accurate predictions of drug efficacy in clinical trials and more efficient drug development through shorter and smaller clinical trials.

In recent years, digital imaging technology at the molecular scale has enabled visualization of potential medicines interacting with cells, helping pharmaceutical companies meet their growing need to measure efficacy through advanced image analysis data and create new surrogate endpoints for use during clinical trials. It is during this process that Invicro streamlines drug R&D by accurately inspecting, analyzing, and diagnosing data-rich images. Invicro has amassed a solid record and customer base with its high-value-added image processing, analyses and diagnostic services, primarily for the drug discovery screening and clinical trial programs of global pharmaceutical companies. The firm leverages artificial intelligence for its proprietary image processing and analysis techniques, and maintains a cloud-based data storage solution that manages huge volumes of information.

Konica Minolta maintains a range of vital bio-healthcare technologies for advanced drug discovery and clinical trials, including proprietary pathology offering High-Sensitivity Tissue Testing (HSTT)1. The company looks to draw on Invicro’s strong connections among global pharmaceutical companies to supply them with applications for HSTT, together with Ambry’s genetic diagnostics technologies, that will help to shorten R&D lead times and accelerate pharmaceutical development efforts.

HSTT is a proprietary technique that can accurately measure the location and quantity of proteins to optimize treatment with molecularly targeted drugs. It offers far greater precision and accuracy than conventional immunostaining techniques. HSTT can provide an early-stage, highly precise diagnosis and insights into a patient’s disease that can inform research and clinicians’ treatment plans.

“The combination of medical imaging, genomics and breakthrough HSTT is a disruptive capability relevant to all disease indications with initial opportunities in the Immuno-Oncology space,” added Dr. Hoppin. “The analytics and machine-learning teams at Invicro are excited about partnering with processing teams at Konica Minolta and Ambry to form a global informatics offering aimed at accelerating the value proposition of HSTT and other precision medicine technologies over the next decade.”

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