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VisualSonics and Bracco Group Sign Exclusive Partnership to Provide MicroMarker™ Molecular Imaging Kits

June 07, 2006

Manufacturing and Technology Collaboration Will Leverage Annual $500 Million Market

Toronto, Canada / Geneva, Switzerland - June 7, 2006 - VisualSonics (Toronto), the world’s leading developer of high-resolution, ultrasound-based, in vivo micro-imaging systems, and Bracco Group, the foremost developer and manufacturer of ultrasound-based contrast agents, today announced an exclusive agreement for the joint development and manufacture of MicroMarker™ contrast agents optimized for pre-clinical molecular imaging on VisualSonics’ Vevo 770® micro-ultrasound platform.

Under the exclusive arrangement, Bracco will develop and manufacture a complete range of contrast agent kits for VisualSonics’ rapidly growing customer base using the Vevo 770™ micro-ultrasound platform specifically designed for the preclinical research market. Bracco will manufacture the agents based on its proprietary technology at Bracco Research SA of Geneva. The two companies will collaborate to develop a complete range of kits and protocols for a variety of biomarkers and research applications including cancer, cardio and vascular applications.

“With the addition of contrast-enhanced molecular imaging capabilities to its micro-ultrasound technology, VisualSonics/Bracco offer the only platform with high spatial and temporal resolution that simultaneously provides anatomical, functional and molecular data,” comments Dr. Michel Schneider, Director of Bracco Research SA. He continues, “We are thrilled to help leverage micro-ultrasound’s capabilities by providing the highest quality-controlled kits and protocols optimized for a variety of imaging applications.”

VisualSonics’ CEO Tom Little states, “By providing high-quality application-specific MicroMarker™ “kits” VisualSonics and Bracco are in an ideal position to penetrate the $500 million incremental annual market potential in preclinical contrast agent revenues. Little adds, “By partnering with Bracco, we are able to leverage their world-class expertise in manufacturing contrast agents kits and quickly provide a variety of application-specific kits and protocols optimized for our customers’ specific research and drug discovery and development needs.”

The VisualSonics/Bracco agreement will further the utility of micro-imaging for quantifying biomarkers, validating therapeutic efficacy of drug candidates and providing a platform for transferring research from the preclinical realm to the clinic. The announcement represents the latest development in a series of significant advances in the molecular imaging industry including the launch of its cancer-related molecular application at AACR (American Association of Cancer Research) in April 2006 and the announcement of Dr. Jonathan Lindner as their Chief Molecular Advisor.


About VisualSonics

VisualSonics is the world’s leading developer of high-resolution, ultrasound-based, in vivo micro-imaging systems designed specifically for non-invasive preclinical research. The company’s enabling micro-ultrasound technology, the Vevo 770, allows researchers at the world’s most prestigious pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, hospitals and research centers to conduct genetic research, phenotypic study and drug development.

Micro-ultrasound is the fastest growing preclinical imaging modality. This enabling technology is facilitating research in cardiac and vascular disease, cancer, stem cell research and developmental biology. When compared to other imaging options, only micro-ultrasound has the combination of high-resolution, real-time imaging, in vivo detection and analysis, reasonable cost, ease-of-use, portability and no negative biological effects. More information on VisualSonics can be found at