GE to buy Scanditronix line, giving credibility to PET

July 31, 1996

GE MedicalSystems will enter the market for positron emission tomographyscanners on Jan. 1 with the acquisition of Scanditronix's PETcamera business. This endorsement of PET by the world's largestmedical imaging vendor should boost clinical acceptance of

GE MedicalSystems will enter the market for positron emission tomographyscanners on Jan. 1 with the acquisition of Scanditronix's PETcamera business. This endorsement of PET by the world's largestmedical imaging vendor should boost clinical acceptance of theexpensive imaging modality and may assist efforts to gain reimbursementfrom Medicare.

"The diagnostic potential (of PET) is being firmly established,"said John Trani, senior vice president and group executive forGE. "We are encouraged by the large bodies of research andongoing studies. Through these alliances, GE now stands readyto provide the attention, resources, and innovation needed tomeet the growing needs of the PET community."

GE will also acquire the rights to sell Scanditronix's PETcyclotrons and will assume worldwide service responsibilitiesfor its installed PET systems. The Milwaukee-based imaging vendorhas also signed a cooperative R&D relationship with HamamatsuPhotonics of Japan for the development of PET detectors.

The GE/Scanditronix deal was greeted with enthusiasm from friendsand foes alike. Clinicians are more likely to risk purchasingPET cameras when they are supported by major vendors. Competitorsare eager to see growth in the market spurred by GE's efforts.

Siemens was the largest vendor of PET systems until GE's announcement.The West German company became a PET manufacturer when it enteredinto a joint venture with CTI of Knoxville, TN, in 1987 (SCAN11/25/87). It hopes that GE will add stability as well as increasedgrowth to the PET market, said David Archibald, vice presidentand manager of Siemens' nuclear division in Hoffman Estates, IL.

"GE is the kind of competitor that will help stabilizethe market. We have seen a lot of price fluctuation," hesaid. "We have had a dominant market share of a small market.Even if we lose market share, the end result will be more businessfor everyone if it is a much larger market."

GE has been scouting the industry for a PET partner over thelast two years, Trani said. PET sales will be handled by GE'snuclear medicine business in the U.S., which is run by generalmanager Rhonda Brooks.

Scanditronix PET personnel at the company's U.S. subsidiaryin Essex, MA, will most likely stay on to assist GE with technicalsupport, at least for the first year, said Wayne Webster, executivevice president of Scanditronix.

Webster, who spent most of last month's Radiological Societyof North America meeting at the GE booth, was impressed by thenumber of potential PET customers who seem much warmer to theidea now that GE is in charge.

"A small company with a big-ticket item always raisespeople's eyebrows," he said.