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Fischer comeback gains steam with positive first-quarter financials


Firm in co-marketing talks with Acoustic ImagingFirst-quarter financial results from Fischer Imaging indicatethat the Denver vendor is maintaining the forward momentum itregained after surviving two difficult years. Fischer reportedrecord

Firm in co-marketing talks with Acoustic Imaging

First-quarter financial results from Fischer Imaging indicatethat the Denver vendor is maintaining the forward momentum itregained after surviving two difficult years. Fischer reportedrecord revenue and earnings for its most recent quarter (end-March)and also said that it is on track to file for regulatory clearanceof its SenoScan full-view digital mammography system this year.

For the quarter, Fischer posted sales of $20.1 million, up20.7% compared with sales of $16.6 million in the first quarterof 1995. Net income was $1.1 million, compared with a loss of$469,000 in the same period last year.

In a conference call with the investment community, Fischerchairman and CEO Morgan Nields said that the company was benefitingfrom strong sales through its OEM channels, such as GE MedicalSystems, which markets Fischer's Tilt-C interventional C-arm.Shipments to lithotripsy manufacturers Dornier Medical and StorzMedical also increased.

During the call, Nields responded to concerns about the rapidgrowth of Trex Medical, which owns several companies that competewith Fischer, including Bennett X-Ray and archrival Lorad (SCAN4/24/96). Nields said that Trex Medical's activity is helpingFischer sign up some x-ray dealers who are concerned that productsthey have sold exclusively will become available through otherdealers in the Trex Medical family of companies.

"Adding two more companies (XRE and Continental X-Ray)with dealer organizations into the Trex Medical portfolio is expectedto heighten dealers' concerns that products they have previouslymarketed may become available under different labels through competingdealers," Nields said.

Fischer aims to diversify the imaging offerings available toits customers through an agreement under negotiation with ultrasoundvendor Acoustic Imaging of Phoenix. Under the proposed deal, Fischercould sell AI's Performa scanner to radiology customers in a bundledpackage with other Fischer x-ray devices, according to StevenKaska, worldwide director of marketing and marketing communicationsfor AI.

"If their sales people are in a multiple sale of x-rayand ultrasound, in that situation we are looking at Fischer tobe a limited distributor of Performa," Kaska said. "Itgives Fischer a great deal of leverage in its market to bundlethese products."

A final deal between the firms has yet to be signed, althoughKaska said that they have verbally agreed to the arrangement.

Finally, Nields reported that Fischer is on track to file a510(k) application this year for its SenoScan full-view digitalmammography scanner. The application will be more complex thana regular 510(k) and will require clinical data from a study of400 to 500 patients, but it appears that the Food and Drug Administrationwill not require a premarket approval application, as some inthe industry had feared (SCAN 10/11/95). Fischer hopes to haveSenoScan on the market by 1997.

"I expect Fischer may become the first company to receiveFDA approval," Nields said.

In other news, Fischer indicated that it would make a secondarystock offering of 1.2 million shares of stock held by the companyand 150,000 shares held by Fischer stockholders.

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