- IMGT is a Korean company that is developing a nanotechnology-based gene and drug delivery system for enhanced immunotherapy solutions.
- Their portable, ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound device is designed to target several desired treatment areas.
- Plans are underway to begin clinical trials for treating breast cancer, sarcoma, and pancreatic cancer.
IMage Guided Therapy, or IMGT, Co., LTD is a Korean company that is developing a nanotechnology-based gene and drug delivery system. The system uses ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound to provide enhanced immunotherapy solutions. Their portable focused ultrasound device is designed to target desired treatment areas that contain malignant tumors, such as breast cancer, sarcoma, and thyroid cancer.
We asked Keonho Son, PhD, the Founder and Executive Director of IMGT’s System Division to tell us about the company’s progress over the past 10 years.
When was the company founded and where is it located?
IMGT Co., LTD was founded in 2010. It is located in the city of Seongnam and province of Gyeonggi in the Republic of Korea. In the city’s Healthcare Innovation Park (#408), the company address is 172 Dolma-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea, 13605. The website is http://nanoimgt.com/. See this page for company milestones since 2010.
Since IMGT is located within Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, it closely cooperates with the hospital.
How did you get involved in starting or joining the company?
I helped establish IMGT because I was confident that the combination of the ever-evolving imaging equipment technology and focused ultrasound technology for drug delivery would open a new horizon for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Tell us about your company structure: ownership, lead executives, and their roles.
IMGT is developing and commercializing a drug delivery system (DDS) using focused ultrasound as its core technology. In terms of research and development (R&D), we operate a group that develops the focused ultrasound device, a group that develops ultrasound-sensitive drugs, and a team that oversees R&D strategies and licensing.
Our shareholder composition is as follows: founders 42%, private investors 33%, and institutional investors 25%. Professor Hak Jong Lee (pictured at right), from the Department of Radiology at Seoul National University College of Medicine, is the company’s founder and CEO. DDS and focused ultrasound experts make up the IMGT’s Board of Directors.
In general, what is the current status of your company?
We are currently developing therapeutic ultrasound and ultrasound-sensitive drugs. Our plan is to apply for a clinical trial approval in the first quarter of 2022 and conduct clinical trials in the second half of 2022. In addition, various indications and pipelines for ultrasound-only and drug-only treatments are also being developed.
How many years has your treatment platform been in development, and what are its origins? Does it have a name?
Our treatment platforms have been under development for approximately three years. Authorization is under way for a new convergence treatment, and commercial product names have yet to be determined.
IMGT’s current platforms include:
- IMGT-LPS™ – a technology that injects ultrasound-sensitive nanoparticles in the form of liposome-wrapped pharmacological substances into the body and releases drugs by irradiating ultrasound to the target area (tumors)
- IMGT-EMB™ – a nanoparticle for chemoembolization of liver cancer that can be injected locally into the cancer site in the form of an emulsion
- IMGT-TSD™ – a targeted sonodynamic therapy that induces an immune boosting mechanism by applying ultrasonic stimulation to the cancerous area
- IMGT-FUS™ – a device for noninvasive treatment using focused ultrasound technology on a specific site of disease
What are some of the technical challenges your group has to overcome to develop a fully noninvasive system?
The two challenges that our team is diligently working to overcome are accuracy of diagnosis/treatment to ensure the safety of treatment and the demonstration of substantial evidence of effectiveness (superior to what’s currently available in the market) of our monitoring technology and new convergent treatments.
What challenges do you have to tackle moving forward?
Our current challenges are the expansion and reinforcement of pipelines through proactive technical cooperation and technology transfer and securing corporate operating funds through investment and revenue generation.
Tell us about your clinical studies and the results.
We have confirmed efficacy and safety through nonclinical trials. Thorough preparations are now being carried out to apply for clinical trials.
What are the benefits of your technology over other companies?
Independent research has shown that our technology has differentiated effectiveness, safety, and scalability. We are developing and optimizing focused ultrasound–sensitive drugs, which are also unique.
Have you learned any lessons for watching the experience of the other companies?
Commercialization of treatment using focused ultrasound has not yet been established. The link between R&D and the treatment market is found to be relatively weak.
Do you partner with other companies?
We are currently looking for partners who are pursuing synergy and the same goals.
Is your system approved for commercial use in any markets? If so, how is it being used in these markets?
There are no commercialized products yet. Licensing is currently in progress.
Which health conditions or diseases will your technology be used for?
We are planning to treat malignant tumors, such as breast cancer, sarcoma, and thyroid cancer.
Meeting Report: ISTU 2021 June 2021
Research Site Profile: Seoul National University Hospital June 2020