IMBiotechnologies has secured approval from Health Canada for the use of the embolic therapeutic medical device for treating hypervascularised tumours (HVT) and benign prostatic hypertrophy/hyperplasia (BPH).

Designed as an alternative to surgery, the Ekobi Embolization Microspheres (Ekobi) selectively inhibits the blood vessels that feed on a target tissue, depriving it of oxygen and other nutrients.

The embolic agent is completely biodegradable and can be easily indentified in the body by using minimally invasive ultrasound.

In Canada, it has been cleared as a class IV medical device for treating HVT and BPH.

Ekobi has already been approved by the US FDA as a class II medical device for the treatment of unresectable/inoperable hypervascularized tumours.

IMBiotechnologies CEO Michael Stewart said: “Ekobi provides physicians with a new option to treat patients with hypervascularized tumours, and men with enlarged prostates caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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"Innovations like this take considerable time and investment."

“This approval underscores IMB’s commitment developing and manufacturing safe and effective products, while providing economic value to healthcare consumers and providers.”

IMBiotechnologies has developed and commercialised the agent by leveraging the Alberta innovation network.

It also conducted a clinical study of Ekobi on BPH patients at the University of Alberta. The study was partly funded by Alberta Innovates.

Alberta Innovates Investments vice-president Rollie Dykstra said: “Innovations like this take considerable time and investment.

“We know that with the right support at the right time companies like IMBiotechnologies succeed.

“We congratulate them on achieving this tremendous milestone. It’s not only good for Albertans but also for people around the world.”