Hologic seeks product partnerships

December 29, 1993

U.S. reimbursement prospects for bone densitometry are improving,with a growing list of state Medicare and Medicaid payors supportingthe procedure, according to David Ellenbogen, president of densitometervendor Hologic of Waltham MA. But the worldwide

U.S. reimbursement prospects for bone densitometry are improving,with a growing list of state Medicare and Medicaid payors supportingthe procedure, according to David Ellenbogen, president of densitometervendor Hologic of Waltham MA. But the worldwide bone densitometrymarket will remain sluggish until several osteoporosis therapiesunder development reach market.

While Hologic breaks even on its densitometry business, thefirm is searching for alliances or acquisitions to expand in relatedtechnological areas until its core market hits its stride. Thevendor hopes to build on its imaging expertise and distributionpresence, particularly in areas related to women's health, Ellenbogentold SCAN.

Medical investment broker WDI Capital Markets of Hilton Head,SC, has been engaged by Hologic to search for diversificationprospects, he said.

Hologic is interested in company acquisitions, product acquisitionsor strategic alliances, he said. The publicly held company hasabout $10 million in cash and the prospect of further stock offeringsto fund acquisitions.

"Preventive medicine--and women's health as a subset ofthat--is receiving more attention these days. We think there areopportunities in this area for products that are cost-effective,"Ellenbogen said.

Hologic attempted to develop an equalization radiography productin cooperation with Konica, but the two firms dropped the ideaafter Kodak introduced its Insight film line. The differentialscreen-film process accomplishes much of what equalization radiographydoes without requiring an additional capital expenditure, he said.

Hologic successfully spun off a private company, Vivid Technologies,to apply densitometry technology to airport baggage scanning.Vivid, which is backed by Hologic's original venture capital supporters,provides royalties to the firm for licensed technology, he said.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • GE has signed an exclusive agreement with UGM MedicalSystems for worldwide distribution of the Philadelphia firm'srelatively low-cost Penn-PET scanner. The system was renamed theQuest for exhibition at this month's RSNA show.

The Quest is unique among PET scanners in its use of sodiumiodide as a scintillation material. Other systems require costlierbismuth germanate elements. Consequently, the $1.7 million Questfits a low-cost price niche for GE, which introduced the $2.5million Advance in 1992.

  • Japan's Central Social Medical Council set the price forMolecular Biosystem's Albunex ultrasound contrast agent at about$150 per procedure, which is half again as much as had been expected,according to a report this month in the San Diego Union-Tribune.MBI received Japanese market clearance for Albunex this fall (SCAN10/6/93).

  • Advanced NMR received the first Japanese purchase orderfor its InstaScan echo-planar imaging upgrade to GE's Signa MRIsystem. The order was placed by Yokogawa Medical Systems, GE'smajority-owned Japanese subsidiary. Once installed, this willbe the first EPI site in Japan, according to Advanced NMR. Japanesemarket clearance has not yet been obtained for the technology.