GRANT CALL: Collaboration Challenges 2016: R&D&I Projects/ Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
PROJECT TITLE: Optimisation of Alternative Synthesis Routes for Contrast Agents for Diagnostic Imaging

Contrast agents currently constitute an essential tool in diagnostic imaging studies. In the past century, with the discovery of X-rays and the incipient development of Radiology, the need arose to create substances capable of enhancing certain anatomical structures and certain pathologies, in order to achieve greater diagnostic accuracy. This gave rise to contrast agents, regularly used since the beginnings of this speciality. To specialists, they are an essential and one of the most important tools to detect and diagnose multiple pathologies, monitor the treatments implemented and carry out interventionist radiology practices, thanks to their effectiveness, speed, ease of use and scarce adverse effects.

The contrast media currently used by the Spanish Healthcare System, specifically non-ionic and RMI contrast media, must be imported from other countries since there are no domestic companies that produce them. This state of affairs increases the cost –  already considerably high – associated with the different diagnosis techniques, which represents a problem in the current economic climate.

The fact that only a few companies in the world manufacture them (none of them in our country) is due to the complexity of the synthesis process involved and a number of problems which must be overcome through the present project. The synthesis of these compounds is not easy. It requires a high level of know-how, and currently existing processes are ineffective and require expensive raw materials; therefore their production is very costly. Moreover, given that these are compounds intended for use in human beings, the entire process must be strictly controlled and a rigorous analysis methodology developed to detect any impurities. Within this context, it is of crucial importance to optimise the contrast agent synthesis processes to achieve an efficient technology leading to products free from hazardous impurities.

In light of this situation, it is essential to carry out the present project, whose general aim is to research and develop new synthesis routes to optimise the production process for various contrast agents, as well as to validate the analytical methods  developed to assess the purity of such contrast agents, in order to obtain high-quality and safe contrast agents for radiology and nuclear magnetic resonance in an efficient manner. Attaining this goal will allow JUSTESA IMAGEN to become a diversified manufacturing company, while ensuring substantial savings to the Healthcare System.

This project falls within the framework of the Spanish State’s R&D&I Society Challenges Programme,  and is aimed at meeting the Healthcare, Demographic Change and Welfare  Society Challenges,  as it involves the development of products allowing the diagnosis of multiple diseases. Its successful completion will contribute to obtain social returns and help enhance the competitiveness of JUSTESA, as well as that of the Healthcare System, while promoting the use of advances in science and technology to improve the health and welfare of the population thanks to the collaboration with the University of Alcalá.

The project, which will start on 1 September 2016 and end on 30 June 2019, has a total budget cost of €756,540.68.

The ORADI project, with reference number RTC-2016-5258-1, has been financed by the MINISTRY OF ECONOMY AND COMPETITIVENESS under the RETOS COLABORACIÓN: Proyectos I+D+i (Collaboration Challenges: R&D&I Projects) category, with a grant amounting to €728,440.37.

Subsidy Loan ERDF Reimbursable Advance
113,000.41 533,905.55 81,534.41