Camtronics shops for OEM accounts

June 30, 1993

Multiformat camera maker Camtronics Medical Systems is pursuingOEM partners for its newest camera, following the expiration ofa sole-source contract with GE Medical Systems. Camtronics wasat the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in Toronto this

Multiformat camera maker Camtronics Medical Systems is pursuingOEM partners for its newest camera, following the expiration ofa sole-source contract with GE Medical Systems. Camtronics wasat the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in Toronto this monthlining up OEM deals for its digital MultiCam II system.

GE had exclusive rights to MultiCam II for 15 months followingthe product's introduction. GE marketed MultiCam II with its StarCamnuclear medicine system.

Camtronics, of Hartland, WI, agreed to the exclusive agreementin exchange for GE's assistance in developing MultiCam II, accordingto Barry Stone, senior vice president of Camtronics' camera productsdivision.

"We wanted them to pay for some of the development work,which includes some of the technology (such as) the operator interfaceand the external product design," Stone said. "Theyhelped with that and in exchange we gave them exclusivity. Weworked very closely with them from the beginning on this."

GE will continue to purchase the MultiCam II after the expirationof the agreement, Stone said.

MultiCam II is designed for nuclear medicine, ultrasound andC-arm applications and uses an 8 x 10-inch format. The imagerinterfaces with video inputs as well as SCSI and Ethernet, andhas a built-in disk drive for portable images.

One of the camera's major features is its digital density calibration(DDC) technology, which enables automatic calibration of the camera.This corrects the density drift problems that have plagued multiformatcameras in the past, according to Stone.

"There are no adjustments on this for contrast and brightnessand all the things you normally associate with a multiformat camera,"Stone said. "All of that is done automatically."

MultiCam prints up to 4000 pixels horizontally and 3000 linesvertically with a spot size of 50 microns. The resolution is equivalentto that of laser cameras but at a cheaper price, Stone said. MultiCamlists for $22,000 in the basic configuration, $30,000 with a filmautoloader.

Camtronics will face stiff competition in the 8 x 10-inch hard-copymarket, not only from other multiformat camera vendors but alsofrom Polaroid's new Helios dry-processing laser imager, whichbegan shipping this spring (SCAN 6/2/93).

Polaroid was out in force at the SNM meeting. Helios unitswere installed and printing in the booths of several gamma cameravendors. Helios, however, targets a higher priced niche than Camtronics,with a list price of $55,000 to $60,000.

"This (multiformat camera) technology costs less to makethan lasers," Stone said. "Pricing is the main advantagewe have in the marketplace."

In other Camtronics news, the company signed a contract lastmonth to supply its Video Plus III digital image processor tothe Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital inHouston. The institute is retrofitting seven of its 10 cardiaccatheterization laboratories, and chose to digitize the labs ratherthan replace one of its older labs.

"What we really needed was to bring all of our catheterizationlaboratories up to an equivalent level of state-of-the-art imageprocessing," said David Helfer, administrative director ofinvasive cardiology for the institute. "We determined thatthis can be done most effectively with a digital upgrade product."

The institute bought 10 Video Plus units. The dollar valueof the contract was not disclosed.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Molecular Biosystems (MBI) signed an exclusive Europeanlicense agreement with Italian contrast supplier Bracco of Milanfor marketing and distribution of oral ultrasound agents. TheBracco connection does not affect MBI's existing European agreementfor its Albunex cardiac perfusion ultrasound agent. That relationship,also exclusive, is with another major European contrast agentdeveloper, Nycomed of Oslo.

Bracco has paid MBI a $2 million license fee and agreed topay another $5.5 million conditional on completion of developmentand regulatory targets. The Italian firm will conduct clinicaltrials and obtain regulatory approval for MBI's oral ultrasoundagents in Europe. The U.S. firm retains manufacturing rights andis entitled to a percentage of sales by Bracco of the agents itsupplies.

  • Medical High Technology International of Clearwater, FL,and Theratronics of Ontario, Canada, broke off their four-yearsupply relationship last month. MHTI had been the exclusive providerof CT simulators for use with Theratronics radiotherapy systems.The U.S. firm will now be able to sell directly to the radiotherapymarket, according to Jerome Shields, president.

The 25 CT-SIM systems installed worldwide will continue tobe supported jointly by the two companies. CT-SIM can be interfacedwith most treatment planning computers, Shields said. This allowsphysicians to transfer simulation data directly to their existingtherapy planning equipment. CT-SIM is the only dedicated CT simulatoron the market, according to the company.

MHTI was formed in 1982 as a CT service company by ex-Pfizermedical executives. Six years ago, the firm purchased Pfizer'sCT technology developed prior to the drug company's exit fromthe imaging systems business (SCAN 8/05/87).