Rapid labelling of N-heterocyclic carbene ligands with the radiosotope technetium-99m

Technology description

La Trobe University researchers have designed a new protocol for the rapid labelling of N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligands with the radioisotope Technetium-99m (referred to as Tc-99m). Tc-99m is one of the most widely used radioisotopes in diagnostic imaging (nuclear medicine). NHCs are a recently discovered class of metal binding organic molecules (ligands) that have proven to be incredibly useful to many branches of chemistry, most notably, it is used to increase the rate of chemical reactions (chemical catalysis). This methodology utilises a transmetallation reaction, which represents a novel and versatile strategy for labelling NHC ligands with Tc-99m.

Key benefits

  • A fast and efficient method for labelling NHC ligands with the medically important isotope Tc-99m
  • NHC ligands designed to allow ready coupling to biomolecules, offering the potential for targeting imaging agents to specific disease sites within the body.


  • This invention has applications in the field of diagnostic imaging (nuclear medicine).
  • The combination of the widely used medical isotope Tc-99m with N-heterocyclic carbene ligands offers the potential for new imaging agents.
  • The rapid radiolabelling of biomolecules for the development of targeted radiopharmaceuticals.

The opportunity

This technology is available at no cost as an Easy Access Licence to companies and individuals.

Contact us

For more information contact the Project Manager:

Caroline Bathje
Senior Commercialisation Officer
E: c.bathje@latrobe.edu.au
Ref: TEC2014/211

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