First Commercially Available Cyclotron Comes to Michigan


Designed to accelerate electrons and other particles, the world’s first commercially available cyclotron connected to animal facilities will take up residence at MPI Research in Mattawan, just west of Kalamazoo. Set to open in spring 2014, the multimillion-dollar facility will boost research efforts in such fields as nuclear therapy, cancer treatments, and drug therapy.

Along with a $550-million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, now being designed at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and set to open before the end of the decade, the Mattawan imaging center will make the state a global leader in nuclear science.

The new imaging center in Mattawan is the latest effort between MPI Research, Invicro, and 3D Imaging. Once operational, the cyclotron facility will allow pharmaceutical researchers to improve drug radiolabeling and boost in-depth study across a wide variety of animals, including mice and monkeys.

“Only the Imaging Center at MPI Research will offer translational imaging capabilities all under one roof,” says Jack Hoppin, co-founder and managing partner of Invicro in Boston. “This will fill a void that is not being addressed anywhere in the world, and most importantly, will speed drug discovery and development programs to market.”

William U. Parfet, chairman, president, and CEO of MPI Research, says the 10,000-square-foot, two-story imaging center will be “an important and highly visible reflection of how our community, our region, and the state of Michigan continue to move forward as leaders in the life sciences.”

The three companies have collaborated on more than 100 imaging projects to date. The partners say the new facility will also create jobs. “It will take drug development to the next level by providing biotech and pharmaceutical companies with key information that has never before been available,” says Marc Berridge, president and founder of 3D Imaging in Maumelle, Ark., which works with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.