Hologic plans multiple modality unveilings at RSNA meeting

October 11, 2006

Buoyed by corporate acquisitions, Hologic will appear at the RSNA meeting with a 13,000-square-foot booth filled with works-in-progress for its mammography, CAD, and densitometry offerings, and enhanced by a first-time RSNA showing of an MRI system from Esaote and the Chicago debut of its newly acquired biopsy portfolio.

Buoyed by corporate acquisitions, Hologic will appear at the RSNA meeting with a 13,000-square-foot booth filled with works-in-progress for its mammography, CAD, and densitometry offerings, and enhanced by a first-time RSNA showing of an MRI system from Esaote and the Chicago debut of its newly acquired biopsy portfolio.

Leveraging the partnership that it struck last year with Esaote, Hologic will unveil an extremity MRI system, called Opera E-MRI. The product, designed primarily for orthopedic specialists, will feature an accelerated setup to facilitate faster exams. Key features of the clamshell, 0.2T permanent magnet include a display screen that allows technologists to use scout images to position patients. The unit, which is built low to the floor, also allows easier access by patients.

Opera's low cost of ownership is a key advantage, according to Brad Herrington, vice president of skeletal health at Hologic. The system is priced in the low $400,000s, he said.

The several works-in-progress include breast tomosynthesis on the company's selenium-based digital detector. Booth visitors will get hands-on experience reading 2D and 3D tomographic images, based on clinical data obtained over the past three years at six clinical sites. The opportunity is designed to whet the appetite of potential buyers for a commercial tomography system, tentatively scheduled for release late next year, said Jack Cumming, Hologic chairman and chief executive officer.

Another works-in-progress, the addition of CAD review to the company's multimodality SecureViewDX breast imaging workstations, is designed to speed comparisons of current and past mammograms while optimizing CAD marking and display for identifying suspicious lesions. Hologic's acquisition of R2 Technology provided the gateway to this evolution of SecureView, just as it will pave the way for a closer connection between CAD and the company's Selenia full-field digital mammography system.

"We have traded our secrets with R2's secrets," Cumming said. "Because of this cooperation, R2 understands our postprocessing better. We can tweak those algorithms as it continues to evolve its product."

A third product, 3D analysis on Hologic's Discovery bone densitometers, will be shown with rotational C-arm capability. This capability, dubbed T-DEXA (tomographic dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), will be expressed in the company's hip structure analysis feature, which reconstructs data from several views of the hips into a 3D geometric and densitometric model of the hips.

"Our ultimate goal is to differentiate patients at higher risk of fracture from those who are at low risk," said Herrington, who noted that bone density measurements today provide an imperfect indicator. "With this we are trying to do better," he said.

The company is collecting clinical data to assess how close engineers have come to solving the problem of that differentiation. Herrington said the data to do so may be in hand within 12 months with a commercial product release in late 2007.

In the meantime, Hologic will emphasize the FDA-cleared capability of its latest Discovery systems to pick up abdominal aortic calcifications as predictors of cardiovascular disease. The data for this evaluation, Herington noted, are gathered as part of a routine spine evaluation.

"The data suggest that if someone has radiographic evidence of abdominal aortic calcification, they may be at 10 to 20 times higher risk," he said.

Data acquired by the Discovery system will provide that simple screening test, he said, providing the means for differentiating between a low and a high risk for cardiovascular disease among the large population of walking well in the U.S.

Also highlighted at the Hologic RSNA exhibit will be ATEC biopsy and excision tools developed by Hologic's recent corporate acquisition, Suros Surgical, alongside the Hologic upright (StereoLoc II) and prone (MultiCare Platinum) stereotactic breast biopsy products. ATEC Emerald, designed specifically for MRI-guided breast biopsy, and ATEC Sapphire, an all-in-one breast biopsy system for stereotactic x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI, will be among offerings already on the market but new to Hologic.

"We are going to be very focused on building the market share of Suros," Cumming said.