Magnetic Insight Introduces HYPER, the First Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) Based Localized Hyperthermia Platform

Magnetic Insight Introduces HYPER, the First Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) Based Localized Hyperthermia Platform

ALAMEDA, Calif.March 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Magnetic Insight, Inc., the leader in magnetic particle imaging (MPI) solutions, introduces the first localized MPI hyperthermia technology, HYPER, offering millimeter-scale spatial control of magnetic heating for applications in hyperthermia, drug release, and cell activation. The platform debuts in March 2019 at the International Workshop of Magnetic Particle Imaging (IWMPI) in New York and the European Molecular Imaging Meeting (EMIM) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Magnetic Insight also develops and sells the MOMENTUM imager, which is a fully integrated MPI imager designed for murine imaging. MPI is a non-invasive imaging technology that directly detects and quantitates magnetic tracers, such as clinically approved iron oxides, with exceptional contrast and sensitivity. MPI is currently used to investigate preclinical research models such as those used in cancer research and immunology.

The HYPER technology is an add-on module to the MOMENTUM MPI system. The integration of the HYPER and MOMENTUM enables researchers to identify heating targets, develop treatment plans, and then administer millimeter-accurate magnetic hyperthermia. “The HYPER platform brings a critical therapeutic tool that works alongside diagnostic imaging,” said Anna Christensen, CEO of Magnetic Insight. “Localized hyperthermia enables targeted drug release, immune modulation, and ablation without impacting the surrounding healthy tissue.”

Magnetic Insight has a growing product offering supporting MPI that also includes VivoTrax, a optimized MPI tracer, RELAX, a particle relaxometry module, and co-registration software to support multimodal imaging.


About Magnetic Insight

Magnetic Insight is an early stage diagnostic imaging company accelerating preclinical research with direct translation into the clinic. Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) is an ultrasensitive, safe and quantitative technology, harnessing high contrast detection of iron oxide nanoparticles. MPI will provide faster, safer and more accurate detection of cells, blood flow measurements, and targeted biological events.


Media and Investors Contact:
Colleen Sullivan


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Magnetic Insight Raises $18M to Support Commercial Growth of Magnetic Particle Imaging in Cell Therapy, Vascular and Oncology Applications

ALAMEDA, Calif.Dec. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Magnetic Insight, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of transformational in vivo imaging platforms, announced a Series A financing led by 5AM Ventures. The proceeds will allow the company to expand the commercial and operations teams, scale manufacturing, and develop new application areas for the technology. In conjunction with the financing, David Allison, PhD, Partner at 5AM Ventures, and Joe Victor, CEO of RareCyte Inc, will join the board of directors.

Magnetic Insight has commercialized Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), a new in vivo imaging modality that directly detects magnetic tracers, enabling deep tissue imaging of functional events and pathologies not possible with current technologies. MPI offers unprecedented contrast and sensitivity that transforms preclinical research and therapy development, with an added promise of clinical translation.

“We are excited to partner with 5AM Ventures on our Series A financing to help us meet the global demand for the MOMENTUM MPI system. Since our commercial launch in 2017, we have delivered systems worldwide and leaders in in vivo imaging have been publishing on the MOMENTUM MPI system across applications in cell therapies, vascular disease and monitoring cancer treatments,” said Anna Christensen PhD, President and CEO of Magnetic Insight.

“Magnetic Insight has the opportunity to transform in vivo imaging and become a critical tool in life science research with longer term potential for clinical applications. We are excited to work with the Magnetic Insight team to drive new application areas and scale the company globally,” said David Allison, PhD of 5AM Ventures.


About Magnetic Insight

Magnetic Insight is life science tools company developing Magnetic Particle Imaging to accelerate preclinical research with direct translation into the clinic. The company was founded by the leaders of the MPI program at the University California, Berkeley and commercial imaging industry. The company has been supported by prominent startup incubators, including StartX, CLSA Fast, and NIH C3i. Magnetic Insight is a privately held company with investors at Sand Hill Angels, CEG Ventures, StartX-Stanford Fund, and SVTech Ventures, and grant funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the National Institutes of Health (EB020463).


About 5AM Ventures

Founded in 2002, 5AM actively invests in next-generation life science companies. With over $1.4 billion under management, 5AM has invested in 71 companies including Arvinas, Audentes Therapeutics, Cidara Therapeutics, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, DVS Sciences (acquired by Fluidigm), Envoy Therapeutics (acquired by Takeda), Flexion Therapeutics, Homology Medicines, Ikaria (acquired by Mallinckrodt), Ilypsa (acquired by Amgen), Incline Therapeutics (acquired by The Medicines Company), Marcadia Biotech (acquired by Roche), Novira Therapeutics (acquired by J&J), Pearl Therapeutics (acquired by AstraZeneca) and Relypsa (acquired by Vifor Pharma). For more information, please visit


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Colleen Sullivan

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Closing In On Cancer With Magnetic Particle Imaging

Rats and mice get a lot of bad press, but for Steve Conolly, a professor of bioengineering and of electrical engineering and computer sciences, the furry creatures have been stalwart pioneers in the development of a spectacular new medical research technology called magnetic particle imaging (MPI).

Conolly, working with colleagues, postdocs, and students in his lab, has devised groundbreaking imaging systems that use strong magnetic fields to light up targeted diseases anywhere in the body. MPI is extremely sensitive and quickly generates bright, high-contrast images, in many ways outperforming established methods such as computed tomography (CT), nuclear imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

One example is MPI’s unmatched superiority in tracking migrating cells over time, an important step forward if stem-cell therapies are to succeed. White blood cell tracking could also lead to noninvasive, early detection and monitoring of tumors and inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis and osteoarthritis.

The catch is that none of today’s MPI scanners are roomy enough to fit a human inside. “Right now, they can accommodate rats,” says Conolly. “Scaling up to humans is our next engineering challenge.”

Engineering for health

As a graduate student at Stanford in the 1980s, Conolly first studied communications technology, but soon discovered a more interesting challenge. “I realized that how we communicate with radio, television and other methods has a lot in common with how we peer inside the body without a scalpel.”

MRI was the technology that first caught his attention, and for over a decade he contributed so many technical advances to the field that he earned 19 patents and an Outstanding Inventor Award from Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing. One result was a novel architecture that could produce MRI scanners at a tenth of the cost of a typical hospital machine.

In 2004 he moved to Berkeley’s Department of Bioengineering as an associate professor, where one of his first graduate students was Patrick Goodwill. Like Conolly, Goodwill was convinced that “the future is people’s health” and wanted to be part of it, although “not as a biologist. I wanted to build stuff.” He and Conolly made a natural team. In 2005, Conolly came upon an article in Nature about a new imaging technology, called magnetic particle imaging (MPI), invented at Philips Research in Hamburg, which promised to be thousands of times more sensitive than MRI. He says, “I understood immediately this would be a big deal.”

Besides magnetic sensitivity, what appealed to him most was the promise of outstanding contrast and a high signal-to-noise ratio in the resulting images. MPI uses tracers that can pinpoint targets such as a region within the lungs or the brain or a specific kind of cell, and are visible at any depth in the body. A scan sees nothing but the tracers themselves, with no shadows of bones or tissues — no background at all.

Moreover, MPI is safe. The tracers are nanoscale bits of “rust,” iron oxide that the body eventually converts to hemoglobin or other proteins, or simply excretes. Since there’s no ionizing radiation, assessing conditions like stroke or pulmonary embolism could be safer than with X-ray CT or nuclear imaging.

Conolly and Goodwill began building a series of MPI scanners of their own design. Most parts for the machines had to be acquired second-hand. At one point, a pair of permanent magnets snapped their support structure and slammed together, with Goodwill’s hand between them; after his fellow students pulled the magnets apart, they took him, bleeding, to the infirmary.

By 2009, they had built a scanner big enough to image a mouse. The breakthrough occurred when they decided to rethink the problem from scratch. The result was an entirely new and far-reaching theory of MPI. With it, they improved imaging by redesigning hardware, rewriting reconstruction software, and even determining the ideal nanoscale dimensions for tracers.

With bigger and more sophisticated “preclinical” (rat-sized) scanners, the Conolly lab produced a string of research advances with important implications for medical diagnostics. In 2014, having built the first (and only) MPI scanners in North America, Conolly and Goodwill joined with the former preclinical imaging director at Perkin Elmer, Anna Christensen, to become the cofounders of Magnetic Insight, which recently sold one the first commercial preclinical scanners to Stanford’s Molecular Imaging Program in the Department of Radiology.

A new way to fight cancer

Cancer, heart disease, and stroke impact millions of lives per year. Mortality from heart disease and stroke has been decreasing in recent decades, but the incidence of death from cancer has not improved as much. Conolly lab researchers and their colleagues have demonstrated MPI’s ability to diagnose human tumors in rats using tracers that circulate in the blood, and these studies show that MPI produces images that complement more mainstream MRI and CTs.

But, the future of cancer diagnosis lies in a different opposite direction, says Conolly: “We’d like to have the immune system target the tumor for us. Researchers believe that we all have tumor cells, but in a healthy human they’re extinguished as fast as they’re created. White blood cells already know how to find a tumor.”  In fact, some therapies just emerging into the clinic include t-cell therapies that re-train the immune system to recognize certain cancers.

Conolly explains that “the white blood cells move slowly along the sides of a vein and ‘sniff out’ what’s outside, then exit between the cells of the vessel walls — there’s no loss of blood — to go after their target.” Sixty percent of white blood cells are neutrophils, which spend much of their time sensing and killing bacteria but also may attack tumors. Iron-oxide nanoparticles hitched to such cells could highlight a tumor at the earliest stage, when surgical resection is extremely effective.

Following immune cell movement and change over time may emerge to be one of the keys to early cancer diagnosis. The Conolly lab researchers have proven MPI’s cell-tracking facility by studying adult human stem cells and progenitor cells in rats. They’ve documented the trajectory of stem cells, which give rise to a variety of tissues including bone and brain, over periods ranging from several days to more than 12 weeks. No other technology can follow cells for as long, with comparable contrast, robustness and sensitivity.

By labeling white blood cells with iron-oxide nanoparticles, Conolly says, MPI’s ability to detect tumors at the earliest stage could be a major advance in biomedical imaging. “For cell tracking, MPI is the best imaging method hands down, which makes MPI the world’s most promising technology for noninvasive immune-system diagnostic imaging.”

While the promise of MPI is bright, challenges remain. When human-sized bodies are exposed to electromagnetic fields at certain frequencies, tissues can absorb energy and heat up, and nerves can be uncomfortably stimulated. While not a showstopper, Goodwill says, this imposes an “imaging speed limit” on clinical scanners.

Goodwill is confident this will not deter Conolly, whom he describes as “someone who looks at questions with fresh eyes, always looking to change and improve existing technologies. That’s his state of mind.”

On the path to achieving affordable, human-scale MPI scanners, Conolly is determined to solve existing problems systematically. Styling himself an engineer, not a scientist, he says, “I want to make things better, faster and cheaper. Right now, we’re doing all three.”

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Three Startups Named Finalists For National Innovation Award

KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Angel Capital Association (ACA), the world’s leading professional association for accredited investors, today named three companies as finalists for the 2017 Luis Villalobos Award for ingenuity, creativity, and innovation among startups. The companies, DesignMedix Inc., Magnetic Insight, and Peloton Technology, were selected based on, among other criteria, competitive differentiation in their respective markets and demonstrated progress toward implementing the product, service, or solution. They were among many companies nominated by ACA’s membership of 13,000 angel investors.

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Magnetic Insight Announces Oversubscribed $3M Fundraising Round to Empower Researchers with Novel Magnetic Particle Imaging Technology

Company initiates commercial execution of groundbreaking technology accelerating cell therapy and vascular research with magnetic particle imaging.

ALAMEDA, California, USA   July 18, 2016– Magnetic Insight Inc announced today that the company has secured an oversubscribed seed round of $3M. The equity round is led by Sand Hill Angels with contributions from other prominent angel investors and funds including the Stanford-StartX Fund.

Magnetic Insight was founded to commercialize Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), a new imaging modality that directly detects magnetic nanoparticle tracers enabling deep tissue imaging of functional events and disease states. Because the tracer is not normally found in the body, MPI offers exceptional contrast and high sensitivity. Many traditional imaging studies involve the use of radiation or toxic agents. MPI raises the bar in imaging safety and advancement with its non-radioactive and quantitative nanoparticle detection technology. The technology is transforming preclinical research and therapy development with the promise of direct translation to the clinical.

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Magnetic Insight Signs Supply Agreement with Meito Sangyo Co Ltd to Enable Cell Therapy Research with Magnetic Particle Imaging

ALAMEDA, CA May 25, 2016 – Magnetic Insight Inc, a developer of innovative imaging technologies for quantitative angiography and non-invasive cell tracking in research and the clinic, announced today that they have entered into a strategic supply agreement with Meito Sangyo, global provider of chemicals and enzymes in research, diagnostics, food processing and cosmetics. In the agreement, Magnetic Insight will develop and market VivoTrax, a superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle coated with carboxydextran, as a tracer to support stem cell and immune cell tracking in research for both magnetic particle imaging (MPI) and magnetic resonance imaging applications. The VivoTrax cell tracking kit utilizes Meito Sangyo’s Ferucarbotran product, a well-established precursor iron oxide material with translational uses in the clinic.

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Magnetic Insight to Collaborate with Stanford School of Medicine on Magnetic Particle Imaging to Advance Cancer Research and Neurovascular Imaging.

NEWARK, California, USA March 10, 2016 – Magnetic Insight Inc, a developer of innovative diagnostic imaging technologies, announced today a collaboration with the Stanford School of Medicine around magnetic particle imaging for solving challenges in cell therapy and vascular imaging with magnetic particle imaging. Christopher Contag, PhD, professor of pediatrics, radiology, bioengineering and of microbiology & immunology, will lead an effort to better understand early disease states in cancer and new therapeutic paths. Max Wintermark MD, professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford Health Care will also utilize the new imaging technology to perform quantitative cerebral perfusion and vascular studies in a variety of disease states, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain cancer, with the goal to eventually improve diagnosis and care in patients affected with these conditions.

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Magnetic Insight Secures Seed Funding to Accelerate Development of Magnetic Particle Imaging Technology

Medical imaging startup raises the bar in imaging safety and sensitivity by harnessing a unique nanoparticle detection technology, transforming preclinical research and development with direct translation to clinical imaging diagnostics.

NEWARK, California, USA April 15, 2015 – Magnetic Insight Inc., a developer of innovative imaging technologies for quantitative angiography and non-invasive cell tracking in research and the clinic, announced today that the company has secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a prominent life science investor, and an SBIR technology award.

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Magnetic Insight Will Join the Spring 2015 BayBio FAST Advisory Program

February 23, 2015 – Magnetic Insight will be joining the Spring 2015 BayBio FAST Advisory program. BayBio FAST program selects the most promising young Bay Area life science companies and helps fast-track their way to funding and success by drawing on the vast and rich experience of Northern California’s vibrant life science community.