New Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy Lands Shreveport in Top Tier of Health Care, Research

Houston has M.D. Anderson. New York has Memorial Sloan Kettering. Los Angeles has Cedars-Sinai. Each is synonymous with the most advanced molecular imaging, therapy and research for cancer, neurological and cardiological conditions. And now, add Shreveport and the Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy to the list.

Opened in June, CMIT’s new $19.5 million, 23,000-square-foot facility offers state-of-the-art equipment and firmly establishes Shreveport at the forefront of medical research.

“This is a landmark moment for Louisiana’s life sciences industry, and for Louisiana residents confronting a wide range of serious health challenges,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at the center’s grand opening.

LED Secretary Don Pierson (pictured) echoed those sentiments.

“This investment places Shreveport, northwest Louisiana, in that top tier of health care providers,” Pierson said. “It really is a fantastic addition.”

The new center consolidates research, radiopharmaceutical manufacturing and patient care under one roof in the city’s InterTech Science Park. The center houses state-of-the-art cyclotron and radiochemistry laboratories, as well as preclinical and clinical facilities that will help to expand molecular imaging and therapy care for a variety of health issues. The project is expected to result in 25 direct new jobs in the Northwest Region over the next five years.
While CMIT’s target market covers north Louisiana, the facility also anticipates an influx of patients from outside the state. The center’s drawing power isn’t limited to people seeking care. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said the new facility will enhance the state’s position in the increasingly competitive life sciences sector by drawing contracts from out-of-state entities.

Officials with CMIT and BRF, a diverse business incubator that established the center in 2013, say it’s all part of the plan. CMIT began life as a comprehensive facility designed to leverage the strengths of the existing positron emission tomography (PET) Imaging Center and Southern Isotopes into a research organization focusing on molecular imaging and therapy. CMIT develops novel radiopharmaceuticals for improved imaging and therapy while working with researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies.

CMIT says it helps researchers confirm and improve their products; scientists answer fundamental scientific questions; physicians diagnose, assess and evaluate disease and therapy; and patients battle life-threatening diseases through the center’s research and clinical efforts.

CMIT is well-positioned to take advantage of the soaring demand for novel diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. The global market will swell to an estimated $7.4 billion by 2024.

BRF and CMIT officials say the expanded program at the facility is expected to generate:

  • Fully equipped laboratories for basic science, pre-clinical, and translational research.
  • CGMP-compliant laboratories for commercial manufacturing and distribution of radiopharmaceuticals.
  • Clinical facilities providing cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and clinical trial opportunities.
  • Expanded infrastructure to accommodate research contracts from pharmaceutical companies.
  • Enhanced research collaboration through expanded radiopharmaceutical inventory, research laboratory space and infrastructure.
  • The potential to create a pipeline of intellectual property and novel radiopharmaceutical patents for healthcare industries and startups.

The new CMIT is the latest addition to BRF InterTech Science Park, which has more than 25 tenants in eight buildings. The central facility is InterTech 1, headquarters for BRF and home to the economic development group’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP).

EAP is the region’s startup accelerator and small business resource. The program analyzes the viability of entrepreneurs’ ideas and products and matches entrepreneurs with investors and other funding opportunities, supporting the firms through the critical steps needed to reach the market.

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