Meditech plans PET launch this year

April 10, 1991

Medical Imaging Technologies (Meditech) has encountered delaysin its anticipated launch of fixed-site positron emission tomographyservices. The date has been pushed back from the first to thesecond quarter of this year. The formerly private company

Medical Imaging Technologies (Meditech) has encountered delaysin its anticipated launch of fixed-site positron emission tomographyservices. The date has been pushed back from the first to thesecond quarter of this year.

The formerly private company also revealed in an annual reportfiling with the Securities and Exchange Commission this monththat it has, in effect, become a public company.

Officially, Medical Imaging Technologies was purchased by VistaManagement, a publicly held shell company. The shareholders ofMedical Imaging Technologies took over ownership of Vista, however,and changed its name to Meditech Management.

The end result of the restructuring is that Meditech will haveaccess to public funds. No changes are expected in the firm'soperations and PET development strategies, said Vincent W. Montsinger,vice president of marketing and development.

The Knoxville imaging services firm is installing two PositronPET scanners in existing freestanding imaging centers in New Yorkand San Francisco. Meditech originally planned to set up jointventures and develop PET centers from the ground up (SCAN 4/26/89).

The firm opted instead to piggyback PET cameras on existingmagnetic resonance imaging and multimodality centers, seeing thatas a quicker way to initiate PET services. It also avoids regulatoryissues involving physician joint venture start-ups, Montsingersaid.

"This allows us to involve physicians directly without(their having to make) up-front capital payments," he said.

Meditech has signed agreements with radiology groups in bothits initial sites. The existing radiologists should function asmedical directors for the PET business, although cardiologistsare likely to be involved with stress testing. Both scanners willinitially use rubidium for cardiac imaging.

"Our plans are to install a cyclotron within a year afterwe become operational, if it looks feasible. (Using rubidium)allowed us to get up and running quicker, since cyclotrons takeabout 14 months to deliver from the date of order," Montsingersaid.

Meditech also hopes to develop four mobile PET systems thisyear in a joint venture with Northern Shared Medical Servicesof Middleton, WI. Although the two companies signed an agreementin September, development of routes did not begin until January.

"We didn't know much about mobile operations and managementand we thought it would be a good idea to talk to a mobile companyabout PET. As it turns out, they were very interested. They believePET is the up-and-coming mobile modality. It (the joint venture)seemed like a natural marriage," he said.

Although Positron is more advanced than other PET manufacturersin applying the modality to mobile applications, Siemens is alsoactive in this area. Meditech is not wedded to any particularPET vendor, Montsinger said.

The firm hopes to place its first order for a mobile PET systemin two to three months and begin operations five months later,he said.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Mobile Technology (MTI) of Los Angeles completed the acquisitionof LINC-Scientific Imaging (LSI) last week. LSI was the mobilemedical imaging business of the LINC Group of Chicago. The dealwas arranged late last year (SCAN 12/12/90), but finalizationrequired due diligence by the firms, government approval, andcompletion of financial arrangements by MTI.

LSI adds 22 mobile magnetic resonance imaging systems andfive mobile lithotripters to MTI's fleet. The purchase price wasabout $50 million. MTI is the world's largest mobile medical imagingcompany, running 101 MRI systems, 32 computed tomography scannersand seven lithotripters. The firm operates in 37 states withinthe U.S. and in Europe.

MTI was acquired last April in a buyout led by Brentwood Associates,a Los Angeles investment firm, and senior MTI management. Theprivate company took in $87.9 million in 1990 revenues.