Industrifonden is investing SEK 5 million into AMRA, the Linköping, Sweden-based company, which has developed a unique online analysis service for standardized MRI measurement of fat and muscle mass. This is of major importance in assessing various obesity-related diseases. The investment will come as the first step in a larger financing arrangement and will be used to expand operations and to certify the services.
Obesity-related diseases are a rapidly growing global problem, with over 1.5 billion overweight people world wide today, according to WHO. To date there has not been an accurate and cost-effective way to measure in detail the amount of dangerous visceral fat. Instead, simple manual measurements such as Body Mass Index (BMI), waistline and abdominal height are conventionally used. These measures are highly unreliable, as visceral fat can vary greatly between people with the same BMI and waistline.
With AMRA’s standardized measurement method, it is now possible for the first time to quantify the amounts of visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, liver fat deposits and muscles accurately in the same analysis. Such information identifies at-risk patients for diabetes, liver and muscle disorders allowing for earlier medical diagnostics and treatment.
The company already has customers in the pharmaceutical industry and is presently also conducting large-scale research studies in cooperation with the academic community. Long term AMRA will work towards its most important target group, hospital clinics.
“One fourth of the world’s adult population has been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke and of developing type II diabetes,” says Hedvig Andersen, Investment Manager at Industrifonden. “Better diagnosis is needed to reverse this trend, and AMRA’s unique solution can contribute.”
The company’s main product, an online analysis service, can manage images from every major magnetic resonance imaging platform. It has several potential applications, of which AMRA initially has chosen to focus on metabolic syndrome, followed by muscle mass analysis in connection with muscle disorders and rehabilitation.
“We are extremely pleased to have Industrifonden as an co-owner. In addition to capital, they provide us with both extensive experience and contacts, which will be a major assets in helping us to establish AMRA as the global standard for fat and muscle mass measurement,” says Tommy Johansson, CEO of AMRA.
Advanced MR Analytics AB (AMRA) is a spinoff from the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) at Linköping University.