Linköping, Sweden and Liege, Belgium [December 6], 2017: AMRA, the international leader in body composition analysis, and Artialis, leading specialists in musculoskeletal health, today announced an alliance that will allow clinical trials for musculoskeletal disorders to benefit from AMRA’s technology. The results of the collaboration will be analyzed with the aim of identifying new, more specific biomarkers for sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is defined as the decline of muscle structure and function in the elderly, leading to functional disability, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality. With an aging population and over two billion people expected to be over the age of 60 by 2050, sarcopenia is becoming increasingly prevalent.  In Europe alone, it is predicted that the number of individuals with sarcopenia will rise from over 10 million in 2016, to well over 18 million in 2045 – a 72.4% increase.  Though several biomarkers have been established to help treat sarcopenia, more specific biomarkers that are sensitive to skeletal muscle changes are needed to prevent of the disease, develop new therapies, and monitor treatment efficacy.
In the development of these biomarkers, imaging data has proven valuable, with MRI offering the best resolution of all techniques. However, MRI is traditionally seen as expensive, time-consuming, and is often only used for cross-sectional or specific body areas. Challenges also exist in assessing muscle quality such as muscle fat infiltration. AMRA offers a solution to these challenges, as it is the first company in the world to transform images from a 6-minute whole body MRI into 3D-volumetric fat and muscle measurements. The automated analysis of multiple validated measurements from a single, rapid scan introduces a new standard for body composition analysis. AMRA also enables market-leading accuracy and precision when assessing lean tissue changes, muscle fat infiltration, and overall metabolic status.
Artialis supports drug development in the field of musculoskeletal disorders, pain, and inflammation by offering complete, customized solutions for preclinical and clinical studies, from in-vitro to post-marketing clinical phase. The company is highly specialized in the research and development of innovative biomarkers, including biological assays, imaging features, and functional tests – new parameters that evaluate therapeutic efficacy at metabolic, structural, and functional levels. Artialis now joins its expertise with that of AMRA in the collaborative research of MRI-based fat and muscle measurements as comparative endpoints in clinical trials.
Tommy Johansson, Chief Executive Officer of AMRA, commented, “AMRA’s body composition profiling allows for the improved understanding of metabolic status and evaluation of specific changes in fat and muscle related to interventions. With an aging population, we know that sarcopenia is a global health problem, one that requires a precise understanding of the disease and how it is treated. Thus we believe AMRA’s work with Artialis will be a strong asset to the community as a whole.”
“This strategic partnership will enable Artialis to access state-of-the-art technology for musculoskeletal diseases and, more specifically, sarcopenia. This is part of an important research program initiated by Artialis two years ago, aimed at developing preclinical models, biomarkers, and technologies to study muscle diseases. This alliance with AMRA strengthens the leadership of Artialis as a drug development partner in the field of musculoskeletal and inflammatory disease,” added Pr. Yves Henrotin, President and CEO of Artialis SA.
AMRA transforms images from a rapid, 6-minute whole body MRI scan into precise, 3D-volumetric fat and muscle measurements. AMRA’s service offers precise, automated insights that have far-reaching implications for the pharmaceutical industry, academic R&D and, soon, clinical practice. AMRA was founded in 2010 as a spin-off of the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV), the Department of Biomedical Engineering (IMT) and the Department of Medicine and Health (IMH) at Linköping University, Sweden.
At the 2017 10th Annual Conference on Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Wasting Disorders, AMRA’s accepted abstract showed that, in 5.681 subjects from UK Biobank, its body composition profiling revealed a strong association between intramuscular adipose tissue and prior health care burden for the sarcopenic group. For more info visit www.amra.se.
Advanced MR Analytics AB
SVP Business Development
Artialis is a leading CRO in the field of musculoskeletal disorders, pain and inflammation, providing a complete and customized solution of preclinical studies and clinical trials including innovative biomarkers, medical imaging, and functional tests. Artialis was founded in 2010 at the initiative of Professor Yves Henrotin as a spin-off from the Bone and Cartilage Research Unit of the University of Liège (Belgium). For more info visit www.artialis.com.
It was recently announced that the company will invest €4 million in collaborative research for sarcopenia through the DEMAIN project partially granted by Directorate General for Economy, Employment and Research (DGO6) of the Walloon government: From cell to human, an integrated approach for the development of sarcopenia biomarkers.
Value Stream Director
 World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs404/en/ [Accessed, November 11, 2017]
 Ethgen, O., Beaudart, C., Buckinx, F. et al. Calcif Tissue Int (2017) 100: 229. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00223-016-0220-9 [Accessed, November 11, 2017]