Agfa makes play to acquire software developer Mitra

October 3, 2001

As a prelude to its own reorganization, Agfa-Gevaert has signed a letter of intent to buy Mitra, a key provider of networking software. When the deal is complete, Canada-based Mitra will serve as the catalyst of a corporate transformation.Agfa Medical

As a prelude to its own reorganization, Agfa-Gevaert has signed a letter of intent to buy Mitra, a key provider of networking software. When the deal is complete, Canada-based Mitra will serve as the catalyst of a corporate transformation.

Agfa Medical Imaging will become Agfa Healthcare, a corporate entity within Agfa-Gevaert made up of two independent business units: one dedicated to imaging, the other to informatics.

The imaging unit will be composed of Agfa’s current radiological portfolio, including plug-and-play digital solutions such as the IMPAX products. Mitra will be the cornerstone of the informatics unit, focusing on the development of software used for enterprise and departmental integration.

“We want to bring Mitra in-house so as to create, in an integrated way, the software development and support we need as the foundation for our informatics business,” said Jayne Seebach, Agfa global brands manager. “In this way, Mitra becomes the core of our informatics division.”

Terms of the acquisition, announced Sept. 26, have not been publicly disclosed. Seebach noted, however, that the long collaboration between the two companies should reduce the effort needed to complete due diligence.

Privately held Mitra has been an Agfa partner for more than a decade, developing software integral to the company’s IMPAX PACS products. Over that time, Mitra has also developed software for other major imaging vendors, including Siemens, GE, Philips, Kodak, Fuji, Analogic, Toshiba, and Marconi. Its technology is part of every major hospital and radiology information system worldwide, according to Mitra.

The company’s 300 staffers develop management systems for networking and integrating the various functions of healthcare institutions. The software addresses a wide range of these from the scheduling and processing of diagnostic procedures to the interpretation and distribution of results.

The staff will continue to serve customers other than Agfa, according to Seebach. Although acting as the front line of Agfa’s informatics division, it will be managed as a separate business unit.

“Our intent is to allow Mitra independence and flexibility, so it can manage relationships with other OEMs,” she said.

Agfa plans to assemble complementary informatics companies. They may be acquired and integrated, or Agfa may establish equity stakes in them, as the company did with MediVision, a developer of digital imaging devices for ophthalmic applications, in a deal announced Sept. 25. The expertise contained within Mitra means that it is expected to serve as the hub for efforts conducted by these other companies and groups, according to Seebach.

“Mitra has long provided our core of software expertise and technological innovation,” she said. “We hope soon it will do so as part of a fully integrated organization.”