Pharmacy giant Pfizer has invested $9 million in AMRA, a Swedish digital health firm that transforms MR images into precise body composition measurements through its venture capital arm, Pfizer Venture Investments (PVI) co-led by Novo Seeds with participation from Industrifonden. The company plans to utilize the funding to further build its global presence and grow its network among researchers and pharmaceutical companies.
Additionally, it has plans to establish a US subsidiary and expand its network among leading researchers and pharmaceutical companies to support patient stratification in clinical trials, the understanding of treatment effects on body composition, and the detection of early signs of treatment efficacy.
From Population Health to Precision Medicine
Founded in 2010 in Sweden, AMRA is moving away from body mass index (BMI) and towards the more precise, individualized Body Composition Profile (BCP). An estimated 2.1 billion people word-wide are classified as obese or overweight often characterized by BMI and waist circumference, indirect measurements that tells little about health and metabolic status.
AMRA is the first in the world to transform images from a 6-minute whole body MRI scan into precise, 3D-volumetric, geographical fat and muscle measurements via AMRA® Profiler, a cloud-based, computer-aided service. The results provide precise body composition measurements compared with normative values with the aim to redefine obesity and metabolic risk through precision medicine – understanding the interplay between fat, muscle and the development of metabolic disease.
“One of the great health challenges globally is related to ageing and obesity, and there are over 2.1 billion individuals who are characterised as obese or overweight. AMRA’s approach provides technology to identify different classes of obesity and thereby potentially reveal high metabolic risk profiles. AMRA has the potential to play a vital role for research, clinical development and eventually patient management,” says Søren Møller, Managing Partner, Novo Seeds in a statement.
The BCP offers markedly improved patient stratification, saving time and money for companies by identifying individuals with equivalent body composition. The high precision of AMRA’s technology supports the early detection of treatment efficacy, making it ideal for clinical trials. AMRA® Profiler imaging biomarkers include visceral fat, abdominal subcutaneous fat, liver fat, intramuscular fat, muscle group volumes, single muscle volumes, and more that are designed to play a long-term role in clinical trial development, research studies, and preventive care in a clinical setting.
AMRA is the first technology of its kind to receive CE mark for clinical use in Europe. Focus areas include: Obesity, NAFLD / NASH, CVD, Diabetes, Oncology, Sarcopenia, Cachexia, Muscle Disorders, and Rare Diseases – in both adult and pediatric populations. While allowing for advanced phenotyping and improved patient stratification, AMRA also offers the precision needed to characterize the early effects of an intervention: Precision for Decision. With AMRA’s solution, the research and medical community will now be better equipped to improve and personalized treatments for individuals with metabolic and aging-related disease.
“Pfizer Venture Investments invests in emerging companies developing technologies that can enhance Pfizer‘s pipeline and shape the future of our industry,“ said Bill Burkoth, executive director at Pfizer Venture Investments in a statement. “AMRA’s disruptive technology offers a personalised medicine approach to identify those at-risk of poor metabolic health outcomes. We are pleased to assist AMRA in making significant progress in this field.”