“Now an ultrasound is going to be in my pocket.”
Butterfly Network’s chief medical officer, John Martin, on how the company’s new low-cost, small-size Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound could make the modality a “personal” healthcare device.
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Handheld ultrasound startup, Butterfly Network, generated some big headlines and even bigger bucks last week, completing a $250 million Series D funding round that increased the company’s valuation to $1.25 billion. The investment comes right after the Butterfly iQ ultrasound system began shipping to preorder customers and is expected to be used to fund the iQ’s rollout and Butterfly’s ongoing product development activities. The Butterfly iQ is highlighted by its low “under $2,000” price tag (plus $35-$100/mo. software fees), light weight (11oz), smartphone connectivity, unique Ultrasound-on-Chip technology, attachment-free functionality, and big-name leadership. That said, the buzz (or flutter) around the Butterfly iQ is mainly driven by its potential to make ultrasounds a clinician’s personal device or a patient’s bedside device – which isn’t possible with 4- to 50-times higher priced (not to mention larger) ultrasounds.
Brainlab and Magic Leap’s Virtual Partnership
Brainlab and spatial computing developer Magic Leap caught the attention of both the VR/MR and healthcare press last week, announcing a strategic development partnership that they hope will evolve the way clinicians visualize and access medical imaging data. Brainlab will market a version of Magic Leap’s technology platform combined with its own data management, cloud computing, visualization, and data pre-processing software, initially intended for planning and simulation of medical procedures. In the future, the solution will expand to allow surgeons and other clinicians to combine virtual imaging with physical environments (e.g. operating room, radiotherapy treatment room, intensive care unit, and radiology suite).
Fujifilm Gets Portable
Fujifilm announced the Japan launch of its new CalNEO Xair portable X-ray system, weighing-in at just 3.5kg and targeting Japan’s home medical care market. The basic and pretty attractive device adopts Fujifilm’s ISS imaging technology, uses FPD imaging, and features a DR cassette for immediate image viewing on a connected notebook PC (a big selling point for home care). The CalNEO Xair is the first of its kind in Fujifilm’s lineup, which includes a range of “mobile” X-rays that weigh 25-times more, but nothing offering anything close to the home care portability of the CalNEO Xair.
Hologic Continues Breast Health Investments
Hologic built-on to its breast health portfolio, acquiring Focal Therapeutics and the company’s BioZorb implantable 3D surgery marker for $125 million in cash. The acquisition comes on the heels of Hologic’s purchase of digital specimen radiography company Faxitron Bioptics ($85m acquisition), which combine to significantly expand Hologic’s positioning in the breast conserving surgery segment and its overall role throughout the breast health patient journey. These are also very much strategic investments, noting Focal Therapeutics and Faxitron Bioptics’ combined $210 million price tag and much lower $16 million and $27 million respective annual revenues.
- The US FDA approved Insightec’s Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound in combination with Siemens Healthineers’ MRI systems (Magnetom Skyra, Prisma, and Prismafit) for the MRI-guided treatment of essential tremors. The FDA clearance for use with Siemens MRIs should open-up the Exablate Neuro’s addressable market, as the system was exclusively available with GE MRIs before now.
- Researchers at Antwerp University found that only 21% of case reports (n=218) featuring medical images listed a radiologist as the co-author (another 3% acknowledged a radiologist). As expected, the radiologist co-authored reports were found to have a far higher median quality score (76%) than the reports that either omitted or just acknowledged a radiologist (both 50% scores).
- IOT security firm, Zingbox, published research revealing that hackers are using error messages from connected medical devices (including imaging devices) to gain insights into how to refine future attacks. Zingbox suggests that by monitoring network error signals, hackers can identify key information such as a device’s application, type of web server, framework, and versions used (and much more) and then use that information in the execution of future attacks.
- Researchers in Australia found that it may be possible to predict the “social outcomes” of patients with psychosis (83% accurate) and depression (70% accurate) one year into the future, potentially allowing clinicians to create individualized treatment plans.
- Konica Minolta took another step in the diversification of its medical business, launching Konica Minolta Precision Medicine Japan, which will offer high-end precision medicine tools and diagnostics services for genes, proteins, and other molecules. The 23-person subsidiary’s offering will combine Konica Minolta’s recent acquisitions including genetic testing and analysis company, Ambry Genetics, and drug discovery support service firm, Invicro, along with the company’s existing imaging technology and protein quantification technology.
- Research from Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston supports the theory that second opinions performed by a multi-disciplinary tumor board (MTB) are particularly valuable for accurate diagnosis. The retrospective study on 70 breast cancer cases found that 43% of second opinions led to a changed diagnosis, leading to 30 additional biopsies and the identification of new cancers in 16 patients.
- Bruker launched its Si78 preclinical PET/CT whole-body scanner, expanding its preclinical multi-modality lineup. The new Si78 combines Bruker’s high-sensitivity PET and fast/low-dose micro-CT technologies with its ParaVision 360 multi-modality operating platform.
- Chinese researchers found that ultrasound-guided stent implants are more effective than standard angiography-guided implants, with 47% fewer incidents of target vessel failure (2.9% vs. 5.4% of all cases).
- Machine data analytics company, Glassbeam, announced a number of enhancements to its Clinical Engineering Analytics (CLEAN) platform. CLEAN now combines machine logs with DICOM data, supports biomedical equipment (previously only imaging systems), and is verified as compliant with HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules.
- Glassbeam continued its channel expansion, signing a deal with NIR (National Imaging Resources) to allow the US medical equipment sales and service organization to resell Glassbeam’s Predictive Analytic software. The deal allows NIR (22 offices, ~200 employees) to expand its offering to include proactive and predictive service analytics and better support its healthcare customers (particularly cost and uptime). The deal also continues Glassbeam’s ISO channel expansion, following similar partnerships with Brown’s Medical Imaging, Radiographic Equipment Services, and Calmed since May.
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- This Medmo video details how its healthcare marketplace platform and network of participating radiologists help underinsured patients pay as little as possible for their imaging procedures.
- Focused Ultrasound technology is currently used for commercial treatments and clinical trials at 727 sites across over 50 countries. Check out this dashboard to see where and how focused ultrasound is changing lives.
- Numbers don’t lie, and this Carestream video detailing Carestream Cloud Service’s operations and presence has some big numbers.
- POCUS Systems is now approved as a Veteran Owned Business with the US Government Office of Veterans Business Development, paving the way for partnerships with the federal healthcare delivery systems.