MR CoilTech was set up in Germany in 2015 to commercialise a radio-frequency (RF) coil device for the new generation of ultra-high field MRI scanners.

The device contains an array of antennae that pick up signals from the body, which can then be processed by the MRI scanner to generate the MR image. The RF coil enhances the image that can be produced by the scanners.

The move to QEU

With the goal of accelerating the development of the technology, the company moved to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in 2016. A key attraction of coming to Glasgow was the facilities at the QEUH, notably the Clinical Innovation Zone and Imaging Centre of Excellence with its 7 Tesla MRI scanner. This scanner is one of only 75 worldwide and Glasgow is the only site in the UK, where it is based in a clinical setting.

With the 7T MRI scanner now CE Marked, it can potentially be used clinically for patient diagnosis and treatment planning. This offers the unique opportunity to develop MR CoilTech’s RF coil devices to the requirements of clinicians. As a result of this, MR CoilTech’s founder has recently undertaken the first healthy volunteer scan on the 7T MRI using the multi-channel 7T head coil which has been manufactured in ICE.

Integration within the Clinical Innovation Zone has supported the company’s ambitions, facilitating access to clinicians and key infrastructure, as well as offering the company founder a permanent academic tenure. The recent award of an EPSRC-funded PhD studentship on Parallel-transmit MRI techniques for clinical neuroimaging at 7 tesla will continue to focus on exploiting new RF coils.

In its first three years, the company has generated annual sales of around £200,000 and has three employees. It has developed MRI coils for research institutes in the US and Netherlands and is also working with Siemens, the manufacturer of Glasgow’s 7T MRI scanner. All of the company’s sales are exports.

MR CoilTech is a key industry partner in the development of the ‘Living Laboratory’ at the QEUH.

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