MATTAWAN (WWJ) — MPI Research, in partnership with Boston-based Invicro and Arkansas-based 3D Imaging, broke ground Friday for a new imaging center, set to open in spring 2014 at the MPI Research headquarters in Mattawan.

For the first time, pharmaceutical researchers will have access to a cyclotron directly connected to an animal research center, permitting drug radiolabeling and in-depth study across a wide variety of animal models.

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“Thanks to the insights and dedication of our team and our partners at Invicro and 3D Imaging, this addition will further establish MPI Research as a truly one-of-a-kind research facility and global resource for drug development,” said MPI Research chairman, president and CEO William U. Parfet. “It is also an important and highly visible reflection of how our community, our region and the state of Michigan continue to move forward as leaders in the life sciences.”

The 10,000-square-foot, two-story Imaging Center is the latest joint effort between MPI Research, Invicro and 3D Imaging, which the companies said have already collaborated on more than 100 imaging projects. The multimillion-dollar project will include Invicro’s molecular imaging informatics team and 3D Imaging’s radiopharmaceutical group.

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“Only the Imaging Center at MPI Research will offer translational imaging capabilities all under one roof,” said Jack Hoppin, Ph.D., co-founder and managing partner of Invicro. “This will fill a void that is not being addressed anywhere in the world, and most importantly, will speed drug discovery and development programs to market.”

Many of the expanded imaging solutions, including nonhuman primate PET and CT imaging capabilities, became available in July 2013.

“Together with our partners, MPI Research and Invicro, we are creating a total translational imaging tool,” said Marc Berridge, president and founder of 3D Imaging. “It will take drug development to the next level by providing biotech and pharmaceutical companies with key information that has never before been available.”

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