“We believe that this innovation could help save lives, keep our borders more secure, and make sure that the food we eat is as safe as it could possibly be.”
University of Surrey PhD student, Hashini Thirimanne, on the wide range of potential applications that her team’s new flexible x-ray technology could support.
The Imaging Wire
Hologic Scores Mammography Patent Win Over Fujifilm
Hologic appears to have landed a major mammography patent victory in its year-old legal battle with Fujifilm. The US ITC found that Fujifilm’s Aspire Cristalle breast imaging system violates four Hologic patents related to “x-ray mammography with tomosynthesis and other mammography technologies,” found in its Selena Dimensions and 3Dimensions x-ray mammography systems. The ITC judge recommended an exclusion order to prevent Fujifilm from importing the infringing products to the US and a cease-and-desists order to prevent further sale of units that are already stateside, with a final ITC ruling scheduled for late November. Although it’s possible that the ITC will adopt a more-lenient ruling or the companies will reach a compromise, there’s always a chance that this recommendation will lead to Fujifilm’s exit from the US mammography market (at least with these products).
Q2 2018 Medical Imaging Financials Continue
The second wave of largely positive financial reports for the April-June period were released, revealing mixed (but overall solid) financial performances from Siemens Healthineers and Samsung, and strong performances from Hitachi, Hologic, and IRadimed.
Siemens Healthineers – Currency headwinds and product launch costs drove a 10% operating profit decline for Siemens Healthineers to €503 million ($588m) and a 110bps profit margin decline to 16%, while revenue stayed flat at €3.3 billion ($3.85b). However, comparable revenue (without currency and portfolio changes) increased by 5%, driven in part by an 8% increase in imaging revenue to €1.976 billion ($2.312 billion).
Hologic – Driven by a strong performance in its breast health (+8.5% to $307.9m) and international businesses (+20% to $163.8m), Hologic’s revenue increased 2.2% to $824 million (+1.1% in constant currency). Hologic’s GAAP net income increased 89.7% to $112.9 million, while EBITA increased 0.4% to $261.7 million.
Samsung – A decline in smartphone and display panel sales drove a 4% drop in Samsung’s revenue to 58.4 trillion won ($52.1b), while net profit increased 6% to 11.04 trillion won ($13.3b). Samsung traditionally keeps its financial details high-level and does not specify its healthcare performance.
Hitachi – Revenue and earnings continued to grow at Hitachi, which saw a 4% increase in revenue to ¥2.165 trillion ($19.4b), a 40% increase in consolidated net profit to ¥105.2 billion ($948m), and a 12% jump in operating profit to ¥148.1 billion ($1.325b). Hitachi is that big. The company did not disclose financials for its healthcare business, although it did say that healthcare achieved increased revenue and operating profit.
IRadimed – MRI accessories developer IRadimed reported a 34.5% increase in revenue to $7.4 million and an over 3x increase in net income to $1.4 million, helped by a 5x increase in revenue from its patient vital signs monitor products to $1.5 million. This marks the second straight quarter of significant growth from IRadimed.
Siemens’ Tariff Workaround
Siemens Healthineers revealed plans to ship goods to the US from its European factories, instead of from China, in an effort to avoid the costs associated with the US’ 25% tariffs on Chinese imports. The company admitted that changing its supply chain will still create new costs, but it expects the tariffs to have a “low single digit million euro impact this year, which could rise to a double-digit million euro impact next year.” Siemens’ logistical flexibility is a big advantage, but it will still be interesting to see how the company manages its US parts inventories, as the company is already known to have longer US turnaround times for some parts that have to ship from Germany (versus say, shipping GE parts from Chicago).
Hologic Expands Breast Health Position with Faxitron Acquisition
Hologic acquired digital specimen radiography company, Faxitron Bioptics, in an $85 million deal intended to expand Hologic’s Breast Health product portfolio and give it a larger role in breast conserving surgery. Faxitron generated $27 million in revenue last year, offering a portfolio that spans digital specimen radiography (including the recently-cleared VisionCT), breast lesion localization, and sentinel lymph node biopsy, primarily selling to breast surgeons and pathologists. Faxitron Bioptics appears to have strong synergies with Hologic’s existing Breast Health business, giving Hologic a role throughout much of the breast health patient journey.
- Elekta acquired quality assurance (QA) company, Acumyn, and its AQUA quality management system, which coordinates QA tests required within a radiotherapy clinic. Elekta is well-acquainted with AQUA, following four years of offering the platform as a reseller, and views the acquisition as a key step in advancing its digital strategy.
- Australian molecular diagnostics company, Genetic Technologies (GTG), partnered with Asia Pacific radiology-centric AI healthcare company, Swisstec, to distribute GTG’s genetic cancer screening tests to hospital networks in Asia. GTG will also take a 5% stake in Swisstec, with the potential to buy another 5% stake pending certain milestones, while also providing Swisstec $250k to help fund their expansion into China.
- Hong Kong-based medical information company, HEX Innovation, introduced a new blockchain-based platform, called “Health Evolution on X.blockchain (HEX),” that integrates patient medical records and medical imaging radiation dose data. HEX Innovation is already developing the platform’s first blockchain app, called DApp, which tracks patients’ cumulative radiation exposure across different hospitals, and allows providers to manage dosage accordingly.
- Exact Imaging partnered with urology group purchasing organization, UroGPO, providing the group’s 550+ US members with its ExactVu Micro-Ultrasound Platform with “preferential pricing,” plus offering Targeted Biopsy training and QA programs.
- Researchers at the UK’s University of Surrey developed a new high-sensitivity flexible X-ray that could support the development of future real-time imaging systems with better accuracy, reduced voltage and dosage, and the ability to conform around its subject.
- A freak (but not totally uncommon) MRI accident happened in June at Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts. This time it was due to a technologist inadvertently bringing the wrong linen hamper into the MRI room, which flew toward the machine, striking a waiting patient and breaking his orbital bone.
- That patient may not be surprised by this. A survey from MRI safety firm Metrasens revealed that 36% of 162 surveyed MRI providers are still not compliant with three-year old MRI safety standards, most commonly failing to record when ferromagnetic objects (e.g. oxygen tanks or wheelchairs) inadvertently enter MRI rooms or cause injuries.
- Elekta installed its Unity MR radiation therapy system at the Tübingen University Hospital in Germany, which is believed to be its first placement since the Unity MR Linac system received European CE approval. The Unity system, which uses Philips MRIs, is not yet FDA-cleared.
- New research finds that women who receive digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) versus mammography alone benefit from 2% lower recall rates, superior lesion detection, faster times to biopsy (18 vs. 22 days), and faster time to diagnosis (10 vs. 13 days). This research joins growing evidence backing 3D mammography including recent research from the U of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a new study from Italian radiologists.
- Flywheel deployed its medical imaging research platform for Columbia University onto the Google Cloud Platform, in an effort to support increased adoption and growing data requirements. The deployment makes Flywheel’s Columbia University platform the first fully integrated cloud-based MRI research center and allows Columbia to connect to external collaborators around the world.
The Resource Wire
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- Agfa Enterprise Imaging integrates clinical videos and images into a single application
- Analogic’s BK Ultrasound bkSpecto urology ultrasound system combines image quality, speed, usability, and small footprint
- Canon Aquilion Precision, the world’s first Ultra-High Resolution CT system
- Caresteam touts benefits of weight bearing CT imaging
- Fujifilm’s FDR AQRO mobile x-ray combines high sensitivity with small size and low-dos
- GE’s Every woman. Every body. Every town. roadshow brings the company’s breast health technologies and message to centers across the country.
- Hitachi white paper on the business benefits of high-field MRI.
- Hologic’s 3Dimension Mammography System leads with 3D imaging and patient comfort.
- IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review cognitive data review tool for more accurate patient records.
- Konica Minolta publishes latest Kontours issue.
- Philips’ new HealthSuite Insights AI platform curates and analyzes healthcare data and offers tools to build and operate AI-based solutions.
- Purview survey assesses medical image management effectiveness.
- Samsung’s RS85A premium ultrasound combines image quality with advanced ergonomics
- Shimaduz MobileDaRt Evolution MX8 premium mobile x-ray
- Siemens’ new Somatom Go CTs add cardiac and image-guided capabilities