Mary Anne Heino, President & CEO, Lantheus Medical Imaging
Lately, imaging has had an ever-growing influence in the healthcare. Medical imaging solutions not only aid in the detection and diagnosis of ailments but also play a major role in treating patients. It has been realized that early detection of ailments can contribute to reducing the overall expenditure. Connecting imaging services such as radiology, with EHR systems allows physicians to offer quick and profound care anytime, anywhere. A wide array of innovative medical imaging solutions are being developed in order to assist Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and healthcare partners in delivering advanced services to the consumers. At this juncture, Lantheus Medical Imaging has been instrumental in pioneering the field of medical imaging. For 60 years, the company has helped physicians enhance patient care with a broad product portfolio of imaging agents and products that illuminate the heart, brain, lungs, and other organs.
"Lantheus’ DEFINITY is an injectable cardiovascular ultrasound contrast agent that is a combination of lipid-coated echogenic microbubbles filled with octafluoropropane gas"
Lantheus provides diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine products that assist clinicians with the detection of disease, primarily cardiovascular. Nuclear physicians, cardiologists, internal medicine physicians, technologists, and sonographers working in a wide variety of clinical environments harness the potential of Lantheus’ offerings in echocardiography and nuclear imaging. The company’s products enable healthcare professionals to seamlessly optimize patient management. Lantheus’ commitment to advancing the art and science of medical imaging has placed the company as one of the global leaders in the development, manufacture, and commercialization of innovative diagnostic medical imaging agents and products.
The Art of Diagnosis
Lantheus has a portfolio of 9 products—DEFINITY, TechneLite, Xenon, Cardiolite, NEUROLITE, to name a few. From diagnosing coronary artery disease (CAD), and congestive heart failure (CHF), to stroke and other diseases, Lantheus’ products play an important role in the medical imaging solutions space. In addition to the diversified portfolio of commercialized imaging agents and products, Lantheus have a strong development pipeline of internally-discovered innovative, first-in-class imaging agents, powered by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies and positron emission tomography (PET) that are solely focused on enhancing current imaging modalities and fulfilling unmet diagnostic medical imaging needs of the medical industry.
For 60 years, the company has helped physicians enhance patient care with a broad product portfolio of imaging agents and products that illuminate the heart, brain, lungs, and other organs
The company also has a vivid portfolio of internally-discovered imaging agents in both preclinical and clinical development. Currently, the company’s PET myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) agent, flurpiridaz F 18, are in Phase 3 clinical studies. Agents with the potential to identify heart failure and vulnerable arterial plaque are also in the pipeline.
Lantheus’ DEFINITY is an injectable cardiovascular ultrasound contrast agent—a combination of lipid-coated echogenic microbubbles filled with octafluoropropane gas. The agent has the ability to dramatically enhance the clinicians’ view of the left ventricle of the heart during an echocardiogram to aid with diagnosis. Since its launch in 2001, Activated DEFINITY has been assessed over 2.5 million patients. Though over 20 percent of resting echocardiography studies shows suboptimal echocardiograms, adopting contrast could dramatically reduce the need for subsequent testing. For patients with suboptimal echocardiograms, the use of Activated DEFINITY; an injectable suspension is highly recommended. The suspensions help to opacify the left ventricular chamber offering better delineation of the left ventricular endocardial border.
For revealing the distribution of blood flow in patients a non-invasive test myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is adopted. MPI which is a non-invasive test utilizes a radiopharmaceutical injected into the body which is then captured using a specialized camera (most commonly SPECT). The final image formed in the process clearly enables doctors to identify the distribution of blood flow (perfusion) through the heart. MPI is typically conducted under both rest and stress conditions, after which physicians examine and compare the two scans to access whether the patient exhibits coronary artery disease.
For cardiovascular imaging, a process called PET imaging or PET scan is also gaining great traction. Different from the traditional MRI and CT scans that basically show anatomy and structure, PET provides clearer and specific details into the organs that are being inspected. From the higher spatial and contrast resolution that results in higher quality images as well as better diagnostic accuracy, PET offers numerous advantages to SPECT. This is where Lantheus’ flurpiridaz F 18, a PET MPI agent stands out from the crowd. The company’s MPI agent has the potential to significantly improve the evaluation of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). The company engraves its name as the first to commercially launch Thallium-201 in 1977 and the first non-invasive method to assess blood flow to the heart and function of the myocardium. Moreover, it is one of the first technetium-labeled myocardial perfusion agents to provide physicians with prognostic information and an expanded imaging window compared to Thallium-201 allows for a more detailed evaluation. Furthermore, Flurpiridaz F 18 the PET MPI agent is currently in Phase 3 development, which may help better evaluate coronary artery disease.
It has become a game changer in the industry with great capability to provide improved image quality, reduced patient radiation exposure and increased diagnostic certainty over traditional SPECT MPI agents.
The Life Saving Solution
Lantheus’ innovative DEFINITY echo agent provides a diagnostic advantage in suboptimal echoes for improved patient management. In an instance, DEFINITY echo played a key role for a 57-year-old patient with worsening shortness of breath. The patient was diagnosed with Progressive dyspnea over 3 weeks with unusual weakness. He also suffered from intermittent and dull left-sided chest pressure, occurring with exertion. It was considered to be possibly worsened by cough. The patient was then admitted to R/O ACS, for treatment with bronchodilator or steroid therapy. Due to the complicated condition, the practitioners were unable to visualize endocardium and visualize apex. DEFINITY echo was the savior which helped doctors to seamlessly visualize the ventricle which appeared abnormal on baseline 2D echo examination. They were also able to diffuse LV wall-motion abnormalities for better diagnosis. DEFINITY enabled the practitioners to confirm the presence of severe triple-vessel disease, and the patient underwent a successful coronary bypass procedure.
From Innovation to Revolution
The company’s early journey began in 1956, when Dr. Edward Shapiro, an innovator for radioactive isotopes in medicine and science, with Seymour Rothschild laid the foundation of New England Nuclear (NEN). Offering innovative solutions, over the years the company grew to become one of the leaders in the field of diagnostic imaging. Later in 1981, the company was purchased by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont), which again was acquired by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) subsequently as part of its acquisition of DuPont Pharmaceuticals. BMS Medical Imaging again faced acquisition by Avista Capital Partners in 2008 and was formally re-launched as today’s Lantheus Medical Imaging. Since opening its doors, the company has been experiencing an unprecedented growth and by mid- 2015, Lantheus Holdings [LNTH] became a NASDAQ listed company.
Today, Lantheus stands a mile ahead in the industry by enabling physicians to enhance patient care with a wide array of solutions and offerings that illuminates the heart and other organs for better diagnosis. The company’s outstanding product offerings assist doctors and clinical practitioners to efficiently diagnose health conditions affecting various organs such as heart and lungs, using echocardiography and nuclear imaging. With over half a century’s industry experience and unparallel expertise, the company has launched a wide array of best-in-class as well as first-in-class radiopharmaceutical products.
One of the company’s innovative solution, Cardiolite—a leading cardiac imaging agent—further solidified Lanthus’ presence in the medical imaging arena. Meanwhile, DEFINITY’s value proposition and great success across the globe further advanced the company’s reputation as a leader in offering innovative products critical to evaluating cardiac health. In the long run, Lantheus will focus on enhancing the current imaging modalities. As part of their efforts to eliminate Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)-sourced Mo-99 from the supply chain, the company recently launched Low- Enriched Uranium (LEU) TechneLite. It is produced from at least 95 percent LEU molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).