NightHawk swings from profit to loss

May 1, 2009

Other headlines:Nordion seeks second source of molyPhilips launches wireless XR detectorToshiba sells new interventional package

NightHawk swings from profit to loss

NightHawk Radiology wrote its first quarter of 2009 in red ink, as the teleradiology company reported a $52.73 million loss compared with a $730,000 gain in the year-earlier period. Adjusted net income, which excludes special charges such as stock compensation, amortization of intangible assets, and malpractice reserve adjustments, was $4 million compared with $4.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Investors responded by bidding up the price of NightHawk stock from about $3 prior to release of the financials April 29 to more than $3.60 soon after.

Revenue was down in the first quarter to $38.8 million compared with $41.7 million in 1Q 08. Scan volume was down in the quarter to 722,321 exams from 745,075 exams a year earlier. In a conference call, the company noted that customer attrition was continuing, but its pipeline of new business opportunities was increasing.

Nordion seeks second source of moly

MDS Nordion is looking into the use of linear accelerators to make a radioisotope critically important to modern nuclear medicine. The company currently relies on Canada's aging nuclear reactor near Chalk River, ON, to produce molybdenum-99, which radiopharmacies use to make technetium-99m, the main ingredient in about 80% of U.S. diagnostic nuclear medicine exams. A research agreement between Nordion and TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, is the first step toward developing a second source of this isotope, according to Nordion. If their study indicates that Mo-99 production using linear accelerators is both technologically feasible and economically viable, Nordion and TRIUMF said they will develop an operational plan, business model, and timelines to launch a commercial operation built around the technology. Establishing such an operation would reduce the company's vulnerability to maintenance issues at the Chalk River reactor, which in the past have crimped the global supply of this and other isotopes.

Toshiba sells new interventional package

Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta has purchased four Toshiba Infinix CF-i systems incorporating advanced image processing (AIP) capabilities introduced by Toshiba America Medical Systems last month at the 2009 American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions. AIP improves resolution and visualization of cardiac and other interventional procedures, according to the Tustin, CA-based company. Toshiba claims this enhances guidance and reduces the amount of contrast medium needed, thereby increasing safety while improving productivity by cutting the time needed to complete interventions.

Philips launches wireless XR detector

A new wireless portable x-ray detector from Philips Healthcare is shipping to U.S. customers. The detector complements Philips' DigitalDiagnost stationary single- and dual-detector configurations, allowing technologists to more easily take radiographs of patients with limited mobility, such as those in wheelchairs.