Available Technologies

Browse Penn-owned technologies available for licensing.

PET radiotracers for quantitative reporter gene imaging

Technology Overview:

Nanoparticle based imaging probes have advantages over currently used small molecule agents by carrying a much higher payload of contrast producing material and longer circulation. Bismuth is thought to be the most biocompatible heavy metal, however few syntheses of bismuth nanoparticles for contrast have been achieved. The Cormode Lab has successfully formulated a composite bismuth-iron oxide nanoparticle (BION) that is based on clinically approved formulations.

These BION agents work effectively for both CT and MRI purposes. In addition to a prolonged circulation half-life, BION has strong X-ray attenuation and can be used as a T2-weighted MR contrast agent. This bismuth formulation has not shown cytotoxicity and is biodegradable, excreted through urine.


  • Biocompatible and biodegradable. Easily clears system through urine excretion.
  • Much longer circulation half-lives than current contrast agents, allowing for better and extended imaging procedures.
  • Inexpensive materials and formulation based on clinically approved formulations.


 Dual imaging probe for both CT and MRI. Similar doses used, allowing for tandem imaging.

Stage of Development:

Proof of concept

Intellectual Property:

Reference Media:

Patent Information:


Docket #  15-7262

For Information, Contact:

Jeffrey James Associate Director, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania