Adaptive co-founder starts new firm

June 30, 1993

Former Adaptive Video president and co-founder Michael Francostarted a new company in April that will offer interfacing andimage management products to medical vendors. Signal Stream Technologiesof Novato, CA, is developing interface boards for IBM-based

Former Adaptive Video president and co-founder Michael Francostarted a new company in April that will offer interfacing andimage management products to medical vendors. Signal Stream Technologiesof Novato, CA, is developing interface boards for IBM-based personalcomputers and negotiating OEM accounts, Franco told SCAN.

About 10 engineers, some from Adaptive, are currently workingon the Signal Stream product, which will add multiprocessor powerto IBM clones and provide connections to laser printers and medicalimaging systems. Eventually, the firm also plans to offer imagemanagement software, he said.

"I took the opportunity (since leaving Adaptive) to sitback, look at the interfacing issues and completely redesign newtechnology based on input from many people and my years in theindustry," said Franco, who is president of Signal Stream.

There will continue to be demand for medical imaging interfaceboards despite development of the ACR/NEMA DICOM 3.0 standard,Franco said. In addition to equipment now being produced thatdoes not adhere to ACR/NEMA, at least 50,000 imaging devices havebeen installed that will not support the imaging standard.

On the other hand, demand is high for low-cost, high-performanceelectronic management of medical images, he said.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Kodak moved to combine the picture archiving and communicationssystems business of Vortech Data further into its medical imagingbusiness this week with the appointment of Catherine M. Burzikas Vortech president and CEO, succeeding Allan R. Griebenow. Burzikwill remain manager of the worldwide electronics business withinKodak's Health Sciences Division.

Kodak invested in Richardson, TX-based Vortech and formed anelectronic imaging partnership with the PACS firm three yearsago (SCAN 9/12/90). The giant film vendor's position increaseduntil it purchased all of Vortech earlier this year, transformingit into a wholly owned subsidiary (SCAN 5/5/93).

"The integration of Vortech into our medical electronicsbusiness improves Kodak's ability to develop and market systemsthat meet customers' needs for image and information managementin the diagnostic imaging market," Burzik said.

  • Biomagnetic Technologies (BTI) of San Diego hired a heavyweightthis month as president and CEO. James V. Schumacher, who wasinstrumental in launching GE's MRI business as worldwide marketingmanager for magnetic resonance a decade ago, will promote salesof BTI's magnetic source imaging technology.

As vice president of marketing and sales support for GE-CGR,Schumacher helped integrate the medical imaging business of Thomson-CGRinto GE Medical Systems following its purchase in 1986. In 1989,he was transferred back to Milwaukee as general manager of marketand product planning (SCAN 12/27/89). Schumacher ended his 25-yearGE career outside of GEMS, however, when he became general managerof GE's electric and gas range products business unit.

BTI was the first developer of a multichannel biomagnetometer,which measures bioelectrical activity in the brain and heart usingsensors based on superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID)technology. The firm is now one of several vendors promoting clinicaluse of magnetic source imaging.

MSI electrical activity is charted and overlaid on conventionalMRI images to assist in localizing areas of function, such asthe source of epileptic seizures in the brain, prior to surgeryor other therapy. Movement from research applications to clinicaluse has been hampered both by system price, which is equal toor higher than the cost of MRI, and the need to prove the diagnosticutility of the MSI data (SCAN 9/13/89).

Schumacher will replace president and CEO Stephen O. James,who continues as an adviser to the firm. This is not the firsttime that an MRI industry veteran has been recruited to boostBTI's clinical and commercial prospects. Waldo S. Hinshaw, formervice president of engineering at Johnson & Johnson's Technicaresubsidiary, was hired five years ago as BTI executive vice presidentand COO (SCAN 2/3/88). He later left the firm to join Toshiba'sMRI effort in the U.S.

  • Tomographic Technologies (TomTec) of Munich reported itsintention this month to move its worldwide headquarters to theChicago area. TomTec, formed by a group of former Kontron engineersin 1990 (SCAN 12/4/91), developed a three-dimensional cine systemfor echocardiography that has been investigated by 20 Europeanand 13 U.S. medical centers.

The vendor has expressed interest in forming stationary 3-Dtechnical cooperation with established ultrasound vendors, manyof which are based in the U.S. (SCAN 5/19/93). TomTec alreadyhas a technical and marketing agreement with Interspec of Ambler,PA. The vendor currently has a U.S. office in El Toro, CA. TomTec'stransducer and image processing technology has not yet been clearedfor market in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration.

  • Intravascular ultrasound vendor Endosonics of Pleasanton,CA, signed a definitive agreement this month to purchase all ofCardioVascular Dynamics. CVD is a privately held developer ofcatheter drug delivery systems. Endosonics already owns a thirdof CVD, which it bought last year.

Finalization of the remaining purchase--for $225,000 in cashand 250,000 to 300,000 shares of Endosonics stock--is subjectto CVD shareholder approval. CVD's membrane-based drug deliverytechnology will help Endosonics increase penetration in the interventionalcardiology market, the company said.

  • Gendex has completed a 69,000-square-foot medical manufacturingfacility in Franklin Park, IL, that will house production of thefirm's Mamex mammography system, purchased from Soredex of Finlandearlier this year (SCAN 2/10/93). Mammography manufacturing atthe plant will begin later this year, the company said. The sitewill also be used for assembly and shipping of other productsas well as sales and service training.