MRI Interventions and Siemens Healthcare have announced an agreement to co-develop and commercialize a next generation software platform that will enable minimally invasive catheter-based procedures to be performed under real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance.
Today, virtually all catheter-based interventions are performed using fluoroscopy, an X-ray based imaging technique. The software platform, to be used in combination with companion MRI-guided catheters, will enable procedures to be performed under MRI guidance instead of fluoroscopic guidance.
This shift to MRI-guided procedures is significant because MRI provides superior visualization of soft tissue, MRI provides continuous 3-D visualization, and MRI eliminates all radiation exposure for the patient and physician.
The new software platform will serve as the software component of MRI Interventions’ ClearTrace® system. The full ClearTrace system, which is in development, is an integrated platform of software, reusable hardware and disposable catheters designed to enable real-time, MRI-guided catheter interventions.
MRI Interventions’ software will be a commercial successor to an innovative research software platform created by Siemens. Under a 2009 agreement between the parties, MRI Interventions and Siemens worked together closely on the development of the research platform, specifically for use in MRI-guided cardiac ablation procedures with MRI Interventions’ catheters.
Under this new agreement, MRI Interventions, with cooperation and assistance from Siemens, will develop a commercial version of the research platform, for cardiac applications. Once the development work is completed, MRI Interventions will sell the software as its own product.
MRI Interventions CEO Kimble Jenkins noted Siemens is the global market leader in MRI scanners.
"We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Siemens over the last few years and we are delighted to be taking this next step with them," said. "Extending the power of real-time MRI-guidance into catheter-based procedures represents another major opportunity in medicine. We believe that our ClearPoint system is transforming the way minimally invasive procedures are performed in the brain, and we hope to replicate this transformation for procedures in the body with our ClearTrace platform," Jenkins added.
The ClearTrace system is currently limited to investigational use only and is not available for sale. MRI Interventions has not made any filings seeking regulatory approval or clearance of its ClearTrace system.