ImmunoChemistry Technologies Sells Patent for its Proprietary Technology

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FLIVO®, Which Detects Cell Death in Living Animals, Is Now On Track for Further Development and Use in Cancer Research

Dr. Brian Lee, ImmunoChemistry Technologies

Dr. Brian Lee, ImmunoChemistry Technologies

“FLIVO has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment," said Brian W. Lee, Ph.D., ICT president and co-founder.

ImmunoChemistry Technologies (ICT), a Twin Cities-based company developing life science tools, has sold its proprietary and patented FLIVO® technology to a private equity firm that focuses on early stage development companies with promising technologies.

FLIVO is a powerful tool for quickly detecting apoptosis or programmed cell death in living laboratory animals. Within a few hours of injecting the animal, FLIVO’s florescent dye detects cells that are dying. While other technologies detect apoptosis in vitro or within cultured cells, FLIVO is unique because its detection tracers are non-toxic, cell-permeant reagents that can be used in live animals.

"We knew FLIVO had huge potential in cancer research,” said Brian W. Lee, Ph.D., ICT president and co-founder. “But as a small company focused on research and development, we also knew it would be nearly impossible for us to obtain FDA approval and commercialize FLIVO on our own. This acquisition is exactly what we had hoped for.

“FLIVO has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment by monitoring the efficacy of chemotherapy,” Dr. Lee said. “If chemotherapy is working, dying tumor cells will quickly take up and retain the fluorescent dye labeled FLIVO probes, enabling them to fluoresce using whole animal imaging technology. Conversely, if the treatment is not working or the dose is too low, no significant increase in tumor cell fluorescence will be detected.”

Because FLIVO is a general biomarker for cell death, it has many other potential applications such as imaging brain cells after a stroke, the heart after a cardiac event, or the eyes to detect and prevent future cell damage. Early detection of cell death enables clinicians to evaluate treatment regimens, monitor side effects, calculate dose-response, and personalize medication for each patient.

Since its introduction in the biomedical research market in 2005, researchers have used FLIVO extensively to understand a variety of different basic biological events. FLIVO was awarded a U.S. patent in May 2012 as a method for determining the presence of eye disease such as macular degeneration. FLIVO has also shown that curcumin, the primary ingredient in curry, inhibits Alzheimer’s disease, and that diabetes causes brain damage. In 2008, FLIVO won the New Technology Showcase award from Life Science Alley.

“Selling our FLIVO technology enables us to concentrate on developing additional tools for life-science research and further our understanding of how the cell lives and dies,” Dr. Lee said.

Majority women-owned, ICT develops tools and technologies that enable researchers to discover new drugs and treatments for cancer and other diseases affecting both animals and humans. For the past 20 years, ICT has consistently achieved double-digit growth thanks to a solid customer base with an international distributor network serving labs all over the world.

“Because everyone’s metabolism is different, cancer doesn’t affect everyone in the same way,” said Sally Hed, ICT V.P. of marketing and sales. “Our goal is to develop technologies to understand those differences and help biomedical researchers make contributions to the global fight against cancer and other diseases. The sale of our FLIVO technology will accelerate research and put it on the fast track for human clinical use worldwide.”

In addition to making a wide array of reagents and assays that detect apoptosis and caspases – the enzymes involved in apoptosis – ICT also makes ELISA blocking buffers, wash buffers and other ELISA solutions needed by researchers to develop their own novel ELISA testing tools. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technology or ELISA revolutionized immunology research over 30 years ago by enabling researchers to detect and quantify specific proteins present in biological fluids. ELISA testing is commonly used in home pregnancy tests and in medical research labs all over the world.

ICT’s customers include many established and published biomedical research scientists at leading universities like Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, and the University of Minnesota as well as cancer research centers such as Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and research institutions such as the NIH, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Karolinska Institute.

About ImmunoChemistry Technologies
ImmunoChemistry Technologies (ICT) develops life science tools and offers assay development services to biomedical researchers that enable them to discover promising new treatments for both human and animal diseases. ICT offers a wide range of apoptosis assays, caspase assays, and mitochondrial depolarization detection products in addition to blocking buffers, wash buffers and other accessory solutions for ELISA development. Founded in 1994, ICT has achieved consistent double-digit growth and built a loyal and growing customer base, with an international distributor network and customers in labs all over the world. For more information, visit

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