Merit and NinePoint Partner | Curium’s French Acquisition | Hitachi Details Strategy

“Technology is nice but it’s the cherry, not the ice cream.”

– GE Ventures senior managing director for healthcare investing, Lisa Suennen, referring to healthcare tech companies’ tendency to focus more on technology than the value delivered to patients and the system.

Merit and NinePoint Partner-Up
Merit Medical and NinePoint Medical announced a strategic alliance and global distribution deal. The agreement is headlined by the companies’ distribution partnership, which allows Merit to offer NinePoint’s Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) platform for early esophageal cancer detection along with its own Endotek GI and pulmonary devices. The alliance also includes Merit’s strategic investment in NinePoint’s Nvision VLE Imaging System, which is used to evaluate human tissue microstructure, and reportedly has the potential to improve biopsy targeting.


Curium’s France Expansion
Radiopharmaceutical company Curium Pharma expanded its presence in the French PET diagnostics market with its acquisition of Cyclopharma’s France radiopharmacy operations. With the addition of Cyclopharma’s seven PET radiopharmacies, Curium now boasts 13 PET radiopharmacies in France (25 in Europe), supporting all 140 PET centers in France. The acquisition did not include Cyclopharma’s existing R&D and International operations, which will remain under control of DENOS Group. The move bolsters Curium’s position as the industry’s largest vertically-integrated radiopharmaceutical manufacturer, with over 50 manufacturing facilities in Europe and the US.


Hitachi’s Strategic Update Focuses on IOT, Profitability
Hitachi published the final annual update to its 2016-2018 “mid-term” strategic plan, placing the greatest focus on IOT, global integration, and managing its businesses for profitability, making almost no specific mention of its medical business. During the next year, Hitachi plans to expand IOT across all of its operations, grow its Lumada IOT business, and increase R&D investments in blockchain, autonomous cars, AI, robotics, and optimized factories. Like most Japanese companies, Hitachi publishes a mid-term plan every three years that serves as a strategic roadmap, so the next completely-new mid-term plan announced in April/May 2019 should bring more significant strategic shifts (likely even more towards IOT).


Q1 2018 Medical Imaging Financials Continue
The third wave of financial reports for the January-March period were released, revealing mixed financial performances from Siemens and Hologic, but positive results from ContextVision and Varex.

  • Siemens Healthineers’ sales and profit declined in its fiscal Q2 due to IPO and restructuring costs and currency headwinds. In its first post-spinoff earnings, revenue fell 5% to €3.23 billion ($3.87 billion), while operating profit declined 16% to €457 million ($547 million). However, the quarter was boosted by Siemens’ core medical imaging business, which posted a 6% revenue increase to €1.946 billion ($2.33 billion) and 9% profit increase to €371 million ($444 million).
  • Hologic’s fiscal Q2 included a 10.3% revenue increase to $789.3 million (up 2.6% without acquired businesses and currency benefits), while posting a $681.4 net loss (vs. +$526.8 million in Q2 2017) due primarily to a $730 million write down tied to its Cynosure business (bought for $1.6b in early 2017) and the sale of Hologic’s blood screening business last year.
  • ContextVision AB reported its strongest Q1 ever, posting an 11% increase in sales to 19.2 million Swedish krona ($2.1 million), due to particularly strong sales from its ultrasound business and growth in the US.
  • Varex Imaging posted decent fiscal Q2 results with a 30% revenue increase to $201 million (+5% without acquisitions), while net income fell 20% to $12 million due to higher manufacturing and R&D costs and a shift in its medical product mix. Varex’s medical revenues increased 26% to $159 million.


The Wire

  • The $1 billion sale of Analogic to PE firm Altaris passed its first major milestone, with the FTC granting the termination of the deal’s early waiting period, although there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome including winning shareholder approval.
  • Hitachi revealed plans to reduce its number of group companies from 800 to roughly 500 by March 2022, in a move to reduce indirect costs and improve its profit margins. Even if this move doesn’t involve Hitachi Medical, the fact that Hitachi has 800 companies is notable enough to share.
  • Caresteam signed a three-year group purchasing agreement with Premier, giving Premier’s members (3,900 hospitals, 150,000 provider organizations) access to special pricing and pre-negotiated terms for Carestream’s Enterprise Image Management Solutions.
  • A new white paper from BrainScope and Washington University shows that the company’s BrainScope One head injury assessment product could reduce unnecessary head CT scans by 33% in hospital emergency departments by helping healthcare professionals determine if a CT scan is necessary.
  • ViewRay’s MRIdian Linac MR image-guided radiation therapy system is now in use at Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida, representing the second MRIdian installation in the US and coming roughly one month after an installation in Germany.
  • Florida-based medical asset management company, The InterMed Group, acquired local medical imaging sales and service company, Medical Imaging Technologies Inc. (M.I.T.), adding CT services to InterMed’s current portfolio and expanding The InterMed Group’s offerings to M.I.T.’s customer base.
  • Body Vision Medical received FDA clearance for its new LungVision tool, which the company positions as an “affordable and maneuverable” lung navigation catheter used in conjunction with standard bronchoscopes to guide endotherapy accessories to small pulmonary nodules.
  • Lumendi received FDA 510(k) clearance for its 2nd generation DiLumen C2 endoscopic surgery accessory used to support endoscope positioning in the large intestine and assist with optical visualization, diagnosis, and endoscopic treatment.
  • According to a recent study, CT angiography could be more accurate for postmortem diagnosis than standard autopsies or CT- and MRI-based autopsies, due to CT angiography’s advantages in simulating vascular activity.

The Resource Wire


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