Newly listed Imagion Biosystems looks likely to conduct the first human trials of its cancer detection technology in Australia.

Imagion (ASX:IBX) started trading on the ASX in June after raising $12 million in its initial public offering via the issue of 60 million new shares.

The medical device diagnostic technology targets the earlier detection of a variety of cancers using bio-imaging and nonmagnetic detection systems with a far greater specificity than current methods such as CAT and PET scans.

The proceeds of the recent IPO will let the company build toward its first in-human clinical studies of the proprietary MagSense technology, which it hopes to commercialise in the next 12 to 18 months.

The IPO took longer than expected, which could have negatively impacted the amount raised, company CEO Robert Proulx admits.

“Various aspects of the due diligence required for the prospectus took longer than expected. This meant we came up on the end of the tax season, so we’re not sure that we did as well as we could have if we had gone through the process of a couple of months earlier,” he said.

However the company did raise its target of $12 million.

“We’re in an important transition time for the company. We could do more research, but at some point in time you’ve got to draw a line in the sand and bring your products to market,” Mr Proulx said.

Imagion Biosystems holds strong intellectual property protection that covers the MagSense technology for a wide variety of applications, with the initial focus being cancer diagnostics.

The technology includes both the MagSense detection instrument, which would be installed at a hospital or clinic; as well as the nanoparticles used for each diagnostic test.

The instrumentation should cost less to make and deliver than current conventional imaging technologies like PET and MRI, reducing barriers to adoption and making it attractive to prospective partners.

The consensus within the medical community is that more lives could be saved if cancer could be detected earlier, but cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of mortality.

With many cancers growing unnoticed and asymptomatic until reaching advanced stages, Imagion’s MagSense technology uses tiny bio-safe nanoparticles to ‘tag’ the cancer, with highly sensitive magnetic sensors holding the potential of detecting, locating and characterising tumours at their earliest stages.