University of York
Sabre Technology for Hyperpolarised MRI Contrast Agents
The SABRE polarisation technology, published in Science, addresses the fundamental challenge faced by all MRI users: low signal strength. The extremely weak signals that are detected in MRI, make high resolution, high contrast images difficult to obtain, especially when short scan times are employed. These limitations also restrict the use of MRI in the diagnosis of disease.
The SABRE polarisation technology dramatically increases the signal strength of compounds in MRI measurements by up to 200,000 times in routine clinical scans. These compounds can be administered as clinical imaging agents and can be traced and monitored using MRI giving high levels of contrast and resolution at low concentrations in the body. SABRE-polarised imaging agents solve the issue of low signal strength in MRI, and provide opportunities to use MRI in new diagnostic applications.
The technology has been developed to the level where it is ready for full scale commercialisation. However, securing funding for this type of technology is a complex challenge with many alternative propositions and business models and many possible business partners. There are many potential options each with different implications in terms of time to market, investment requirements, probability of success and eventual ‘size of the prize’.
The project team was seeking help the team to define the right strategy, shape the right options and deliver the right communication material to enhance and accelerate successful funding. After exploratory discussions, Qi3 was selected to provide the necessary market inputs to guide these choices.
Qi3 reviewed the overall MRI contrast agent market, and then undertook a series of interviews with Key Opinion Leaders to understand the positioning, value proposition, and the ability of the Sabre technology to disrupt the market. Feedback from the KOLs identified major, nascent opportunities in cardiac and oncology diagnostic imaging, while finding reduced market traction in more conventional applications. Using its ‘Clinical Markets Adoption Cascade’ methodology, Qi3 then mapped out the strategic options available for Sabre Technology, different viable business models and routes to market, potential collaboration partners, and the types of likely investors.
The final step was a detailed discussion with the key members of the project team to explore the market findings, discuss the recommendations, and help the team to integrate the findings into their plans and actions.
‘Qi3 rapidly grasped the intricacies of the SABRE technology and its applications and undertook a well-defined package of work with a very high degree of efficiency. The information was clearly presented and the data, its interpretation and Qi3’s recommendations will be invaluable as we consider the future commercialisation path of this technology.’
Dr Anthony Atkin