Imaginalis began as an innovative start-up in Calenzano (FI) in 2013, with the aim of using its innate aptitude for human and veterinary interventional radiology to develop cutting-edge technology for the medical diagnostics industry.
Imaginalis is the natural product of a temporary consortium (ATS) brought together to work on the network project MILORDS, which was co-financed by the Tuscany Region. In 2011, the project saw the collaboration of a diverse partnership coordinated by El.En. SpA, and included companies in the Tuscan opto-mechatronic cluster, as well as prestigious research institutions, such as the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, the CNR-IFAC in Sesto Fiorentino, UNIFI, and UNIPI. All partners participating in the project possessed complementary skills in mechatronics and optoelectronics and shared a strong vocation for scientific research in the field of technology transfer, as well as in-process and product innovation.
As a capital-intensive technology company, Imaginalis understood the need to acquire adequate capitalization and to open up a commercial route to the world’s leading market: the US. With this in mind, within the same year, Imaginalis’ management team, together with its US partners, and Italian colleagues at Scienzia and Fabrica Machinale (https://www.roboticom.it/it/), founded Epica International Inc. in California (https://www.epicainternational.com/). Epica’s main aim is to raise funds through its robust, profitable partnership with Facilitated Growth (https://www.facilitatedgrowth.com).
In fact, thanks to the placement of private bonds, enough capital was raised to allow Imaginalis SRL to expand, along with other Italian and US companies in the group. Today, Imaginalis is 100%-owned by Epica International Inc.
The role played by the robotics experts Scienzia Machinale and Fabrica Machinale in Epica has allowed Imaginalis to focus on the development and consolidation of flat-panel CT technology – the technological cornerstone of isovolumetric 3D CT scanners.
Thanks to the resourcefulness, skills, and insight of the team at Imaginalis, as well as the sales skills of its US sister company, Epica Medical Innovation (Animal Health Division), the company has rapidly grown and gained the trust of its customers, thus becoming the perfect partner for veterinarians around the world. To date, Epica/Imaginalis has installed more than 300 units worldwide.
Turnover has soared in the past few years, as has the number of employees, 60% of whom possess a Master’s degree.
In 2016, the company moved its headquarters from Calenzano to Sesto Fiorentino, expanding from an 800 m2 space to a 3,000 m2 space. This was a necessary investment in order to comply with stringent quality standards and to meet increased production demand.
In March 2020, Imaginalis obtained an ISO 13485 certification, thus acquiring authorization to develop, produce and market medical devices.
Over the course of just seven years, the company has been granted more than 30 international patents and has protected itself with two freedoms to operate (FTO).
As an innovative technology company, Imaginalis invests more than 20% of its turnover in R&D, safe in the knowledge that the continuous expansion of its expertise is its strongest competitive advantage. Imaginalis currently designs, manufactures, and markets computerized axial tomography scanners (flat-panel CT scanners) for veterinary imaging needs. The company has also recently developed an innovative human scanner, destined to become a game-changer in the orthopedic sector in particular. Imaginalis markets two product families in the veterinary field: Vimago and Pegaso.
Vimago is a three-in-one, multi-modal platform allowing just one scanner to perform: CT3D/MPR, Fluoroscopy, and Direct Digital Radiology. In addition, the scanners are mobile, powered at 32A/220V (Vimago), and can be used in non-air-conditioned environments. Our scanners are extremely easy to install and simple to use, both in terms of software and hardware. In addition, specific attention has been paid to ergonomics, and the scanners have been specially designed for veterinary use.
Pegaso possesses integrated Fluoroscopy and 3D CT systems. Pegaso is also equipped with a motion compensation system that allows medical professionals to scan the head and neck of a horse in a standing position (up to C7-T1). When under anesthetic, horses can be scanned down to the stifle and elbow. Pegaso is also a mobile device.
SeeFactorCT3 is a new family of scanners for the human medical industry. At this moment in time, we have certified a preliminary version, in addition to two additional configurations featuring “SeeFactor on Board”, which can be used onboard mobile diagnostic units such as ambulances, rendering them particularly useful in crisis scenarios.
To summarize, Imaginalis owes its success to its employees’ passion, their commitment to providing a quality service, and their dedication to putting their hearts and souls into what they do, allowing the company to rely on a cohesive, skilled, and passionate team capable of making current dreams a future reality.
The management team at Imaginalis, together with colleagues at Navacchio (PI) – Scienzia and Fabrica Machinale, and US colleagues at Epica Medical Innovation, founded the Epica International group.
Epica International recently restructured its divisions to separate Epica Animal Health from Epica Human Health.
With more than 230 machines installed in the USA, Epica Animal Health has gained a wealth of experience using our CT scanners. In addition, Peregrine (https://peregrinerad.com), a group company dedicated to remote radiology readings and education, has an impressive clinical case history. Here are a few videos from Epica Animal Health’s collection that demonstrate some of the amazing results that can be achieved using our CT scanners in the field of veterinary medicine.
P.IVA / CF: IT02095530503
Numero REA: FI-629199
Share capital: € 1.424.705,00 i.v.
Vision & Mission
When defining product requirements, we focus on our customers and analyze their needs, while making sure we stick to a few core values, such as minimal invasiveness, patient safety, ease of use, portability, ergonomics, multi-tasking, low production, installation and maintenance costs, and, above all, a respect for the environment.
We start each product development process with in-depth analysis of the needs to be satisfied through the use of dedicated, cutting-edge technologies. A compelling example is the development of our veterinary CT scanners, which are specifically designed to treat animals and do not rely on human imaging technology.
It soon became clear that we weren’t going to focus on conventional medical imaging technologies, such as multilayer CT scanners, which are increasingly powerful, high-performing machines that are capable of producing spectacular images but come with huge costs due to their intrinsically complex technologies.
At Imaginalis, we’ve chosen to focus on a different set of values, such as patient safety – with a particular focus on elderly and pediatric patients – operator safety, ease of use, environmental impact, and the option to use our systems in non-air-conditioned environments, as well as in crisis scenarios, such as field hospitals and mobile diagnostic units.
To summarize, our vision is all about providing patients with a diagnosis in full respect of people and the planet, while ensuring that patients remain the key focus of the medical services sector.
Imaginalis’ is working to develop new 2D and 3D imaging platforms that are compact, light-weight, easy to transport, and ergonomically designed with patient safety and operator usability in mind, all while providing safe, speedy diagnostics, and keeping energy consumption to a minimum. In addition, these platforms have been designed to assist minimally invasive robotic surgeries thanks to their high spatial resolution, isotropic voxel, and reliable data acquired across all three spatial dimensions.
The veterinary market is an extremely interesting sector. In fact, we’re spending an increasing amount of money on pets as we take steps towards humanizing animals.
The global animal health market is now worth approximately $34 billion and is growing at a 4-6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), while the global veterinary diagnostics market is set to grow at a CAGR of 9.11% from 2020 to 2023. Between 1979 and 2017, the CAGR of expenditure on veterinary and related services exceeded overall personal consumption expenditure by 340 points (https://www.nnip.com/it-IT/institutional/insights/la-salute-degli-animali-un-settore-ad-alta-crescita-sostenibile).
There are about 60,000 veterinary clinics around the world, 60% of which are concentrated in the US and Europe.
To date, Imaginalis – Epica has installed over 300 veterinary CT scanners worldwide. In addition to being an excellent sales market, this sector also provides the ideal conditions to assess the technical performance and reliability of our products, while allowing us to build a comprehensive sales, production, and technical assistance chain in anticipation of our future focus on the human medicine industry.
Why choose Imaginalis?
Imaginalis’ consolidated design and development skills mean that we’re able to design and manufacture innovative diagnostic devices with a specific focus on customers' needs, thus allowing us to radically simplify their workflows.
In fact, we believe that processes simplification is one of the best services we offer at Imaginalis. At Imaginalis. we combine simplified workflows with high performance and high profitability in order to contribute to the professional growth of our customers.
Our machines are mobile and easily fit through interior clinic doors. As long as the appropriate precautions are taken regarding radiation protection, our machines can be used in operating and radiology rooms. As ionizing radiation is involved in the process, you must consult a qualified expert, who will be able to recommend suitable PPE and shields for use.
The high spatial resolution, 100 μm isotropic voxel size, and volumetric acquisition of our machines allow them to generate 3D images that are extremely faithful and intuitive. Having a 3D image gives vets a considerable advantage during diagnosis and most importantly when communicating with pet owners.
Three Devices in One
Our products are multi-modal platforms that rethink and radically simplify the work of vets by optimizing procedures and guaranteeing excellent performance.
Fluoroscopy is functionally integrated with DR to simplify radiography scans performed to assess hip dysplasia in dogs. Integrating fluoroscopy with 3D CT makes it much easier to perform guided CT biopsies. All of which allows for a simple, safe, and speedy diagnosis.
Mobile CT Scanners
Our machines are portable and can easily fit through clinic doors. As long as the appropriate precautions are taken regarding radiation protection, our machines can be used in operating and radiology rooms. As ionizing radiation is involved in the process, it is mandatory to consult a qualified expert, who will be able to recommend suitable PPE and shields for use.
Our systems are mobile, compact, light-weight, and use a power supply that drastically helps to keep installation, operation, and maintenance costs down.
Our systems are much smaller than “legacy” X-ray machines, allowing them to be installed in pre-existing X-ray rooms (2.5 x 3m).
Our devices weigh between 450-600kg depending on the model, allowing them to be installed in clinics with flooring for domestic use.
Each system makes use of a standard single-phase 220V power supply and a 6-10kW system.
Air conditioning is not required but is recommended. A PACS system for data archiving is also recommended, but not compulsory.
Each system is connected to the company via an Internet connection, thereby simplifying technical assistance and the installation of software updates.
Smart Radiology Readings
The system’s Internet connection allows for DICOM sets to be shared with remote radiology reading units. A team of certified radiologists is available to interpret and write up reports on your CT images.
Less Ionizing Radiation
Flat-panel CT technology emits pulsed rather than continuous radiation, just like conventional CT scanners, ensuring that a smaller amount of radiation is released over time, thus reducing risks to operators and patients.
Title: Minimally Invasive Procedures for Lasers and Robots in Diagnosis & Surgery (MILoRDS)
Measure: POR CreO FESR 2007 – 2013
Time Frame: 2009 to 2012
Project Cost: €8,000,000
Purpose: Imaginalis is the natural product of a temporary consortium (ATS) united to work on the network project MILORDS, which was co-financed by the Tuscany Region. In 2011, the project saw the collaboration of a diverse partnership coordinated by El.En. SpA, and included companies in the Tuscan opto-mechatronic cluster, as well as prestigious research institutions, such as the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, the CNR-IFAC in Sesto Fiorentino, UNIFI, and UNIPI. All partners participating in the project possessed complementary skills in mechatronics and optoelectronics and shared a strong vocation for scientific research in the field of technology transfer, as well as in-process and product innovation. This project saw the development of a CBCT imaging platform combined with an anthropomorphic robotic arm for minimally invasive laser surgery.
Title: la FOtonica nella Ricerca TEranostica (FORTE)
Measure: POR CreO FESR 2007 – 2013, Plan of Action 1.5a – 1.6, One-Time Selection in R&D (2012)
Time Frame: 2013-2015
Project Cost €2.7 million (Imaginalis contributed as a subcontractor).
Purpose: To study and develop technological solutions aimed at promoting new non-invasive or minimally invasive ‘photo-theranostic’ procedures, in which photonic diagnostics (spectroscopic analysis, ionizing radiation) is used for laser surgery.
The project allowed for the development of an imaging platform built using Milords, which was combined with an anthropomorphic robotic arm to be used as a guiding and pointing system during robotic surgeries. During the FORTE project, we specifically focused on brain injuries, spinal injuries, and third ventriculo-cisternostomy in children with hydrocephalus.
Measure: Stability Law 2017 – MD 24 September 2014, “SMART&START ITALIA”
Time Frame: December 2017 – June 2020
Project Cost: 825,540 (577,878 in funding)
Purpose: The study and development of a medical cone beam CT X-ray imaging scanner to capture sequences of the following areas for diagnostic purposes: the ear, nose and throat (ENT), the dento-maxillofacial complex, teeth, the jaw and maxilla, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), other areas of the human skull and neck, sections of the upper cervical spine, and the upper and lower limbs. The device generates 2D and 3D images of each anatomical region examined.
Title: COMPuted TOmography and Nuclear Medicine (Compto NM)
Measure: POR FESR Toscana 2014-2020, AXIS 1 – ACTION 1.1.5 – sub-action a1. “MSME research and development projects”, Selection 2.
Time Frame: February 2018 – June 2020
Project Cost: 1,315,387.96 (total approved contribution: 627,827.98)
Partnership: Imaginalis Srl, ACTA Srl, QPREL Srl, CNR-ISTI: A. FAEDO Institute of Information Science and Technologies, University of Florence – MARIO SERIO – Department of Biomedical, Experimental and Clinical Sciences
Purpose: Development and assessment of an imaging platform that integrates nuclear medicine sensors (PET or SPECT) and CBCT technology into a compact and transportable device dedicated to the study of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases.
CT for Human Project
Title: CT for Human
Measure: POR FESR 2014-2020 Axis 1 – Action 1.1.2 – Tuscan Region Selection
Time Frame: January 2018 – June 2018
Project Cost: 49,600 (approved contribution: 12,350.40)
Purpose: with the CT for Human project (Computed Tomography for Human Medicine), user needs were analyzed to define a ‘development plan’ for solutions to be adopted during the development phase of a radiological imaging product for the human medicine industry.