Chinese Jiangsu Yucheng Investment provides risk capital to Dutch PA Imaging. This company is a spin-off company of University Twente, which was the first ever to report experimental clinical results with photo-acoustic mammography. This women-friendly method holds the promise for improved breast-cancer diagnosis and screening. Photo-acoustic imaging, the most promising and fastest growing biomedical imaging technique of the last decade, uses light as excitation energy, but rather than detecting light, ultrasound is detected to study the optical absorption contrast. It uses very short powerful but harmless (near-) infrared laser light pulses to excite hemoglobin, resulting in a localized increase in pressure due to thermo-elastic expansion of blood vessels. This pressure relaxes with the emission of pressure transients, with frequencies in the ultrasound range. Ultrasensitive transducers register these tiny ultrasound waves from which a truly 3D image of the blood vessels in the breast can be constructed, including tumor vascularization.
On 20 January 2020 Yucheng and PA Imaging closed the transaction regarding a strategic minority interest. PA Imaging will use the investment resources to validate its product in a cross-over clinical study with the ultimate aim to obtain CE marking. The parties are further preparing the establishment of a Chinese Joint Venture from which the Chinese market will be addressed and which will contribute to PA Imaging’s goal of obtaining a competitive cost price for its systems comparable to the current cost price of a high-end x-ray computed tomography system.
Now developing a third generation system, PA Imaging is combining its photo-acoustic technology to proprietary 3D ultrasonography partly based on a patent family acquired from University Twente. The ultrasound mode delivers data to fine-tune the photo-acoustic imaging and provides additional visualization of anatomical features, thereby building on PA Imaging’s technical and clinical learnings which it obtained in close co-operation with scientists from University Twente and mamma-radiologists from Medisch Spectrum Twente. PA Imaging is on track to go beyond the minimally required 5 cm image depth target which ensures that 90% of the global female population can be investigated with this method.
Photo-acoustic mammography does not need any contract agent, is painless, has no limits on time intervals between screening or diagnosis and is available to virtually all women irrespective of their age. It also claims to produce significantly less false positive results compared to today’s methods, thereby significantly reducing health care costs and avoiding the burden of unnecessary biopsies.
PA Imaging was established late 2010 as a spin-off from University Twente to develop photo-acoustic medical imaging equipment, starting with photo-acoustic mammography. It builds on research from among others professors Srirang Manohar, Wiendelt Steenbergen and Ton van Leeuwen. PA Imaging has been financed with venture capital from UT International Ventures Holding, a public-private incubator fund, and it obtained financial support from Achmea’s health insurance company that also holds a minority share in the company via the Achmea Innovation Fund. PA Imaging obtained a generous subsidy under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as partner in the PAMMOTH consortium and it participates in the SACAMIR collaboration project, which is co-funded by the PPP Allowance made available by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to stimulate public-private partnerships (PPP).
Yucheng has always been managed with a perspective of achieving successful growth over the long-term. Yucheng’s investments aim at preserving and growing its own fund. Meanwhile, it is the goal to stimulate an overall economic prosperity of industries involved. Yucheng is one of the leading investment enterprises and the scale of its international assets under management exceeds US$ 1.1 billion. Yucheng is devoted to seeking for the best outcomes for its investors and for the business it invests in thereby improving the social welfare on a long-term basis.
Being armed with extraordinary expertise in both conventional and innovative asset class investments, Yucheng’s professional group has been dedicated to achieving positive economic value from its global business platform. A strategic layout of its investments covers electric power, real estate and medical industries, along with stock and bond market investments.
Paul Nederkoorn, PA Imaging’s CEO, is very pleased to have found another strategic investor for PA Imaging to provide part of the necessary risk capital to prepare for CE marking and thereafter to scale-up production and go to market. “Yucheng does not only provide money, but also relevant knowledge and a very good network in P.R. China. We look forward co-operating with Yucheng in various areas to prepare PA Imaging’s technology for market launch”.
3D blood vessel system of dense breast tissue of 1 24-year-old healthy volunteer imaged with PA Imaging's second generation photo-acousic mammography system
PA Imaging's third generation photo-acoustic mammography system in the Centre for mammacare in medisch Specturm Twente in Oldenzaal is being prepared for an experimental clinical study.