PACS firm targets ultrasound sales

March 13, 1991

A Canadian picture archiving and communications systems developeris setting up a dealer network in the U.S. to sell its dedicatedultrasound sub-PACS product. Advanced Light Imaging Technologies(ALI) of Vancouver, British Columbia, has hired James

A Canadian picture archiving and communications systems developeris setting up a dealer network in the U.S. to sell its dedicatedultrasound sub-PACS product. Advanced Light Imaging Technologies(ALI) of Vancouver, British Columbia, has hired James Fankhauser,former director of sales for Quantum Medical Systems, to spearheadthe sales effort.

Fankhauser, vice president of sales for international markets,is setting up a U.S. office for ALI in Bothell, WA, home of ultrasoundvendor ATL. Fankhauser was director of sales at ATL before leavingto help found Quantum in nearby Issaquah, WA, said ChristopherHanna, ALI president and CEO.

"He (Fankhauser) will be rapidly setting up our territoriesin the U.S. That necessitated our locating in Bothell. Our R&Dheadquarters will remain in Canada, but we are moving a lot ofour activities into the Seattle area," Hanna told SCAN.

Seattle is attractive to ALI for several reasons. Many of thecompany's engineers have undergone training at the Universityof Washington in Seattle. The area is home to Microsoft and Boeing,among other high-technology companies, and provides a plentifulsource of engineering talent in both computer software and hardwareapplications, Hanna said.

Fankhauser's departure from Quantum follows that of anotherco-founder, Paul R. Norris, who left the ultrasound firm latelast year to set up an R&D facility in the Seattle area forcompeting vendor Acuson (SCAN 12/12/90). Quantum was purchasedlast year by Siemens (SCAN 4/11/90).

Hanna founded ALI in 1987. The firm previously supplied workstationsto Siemens on an OEM basis. Sales of the new ultrasound networkingproduct, labeled Mini PACS, will mark ALI's first direct effort.The PACS company does not expect to establish OEM relationshipsfor this product, Hanna said.

"There is a tremendous amount of good sales groups inthe U.S., so we haven't felt the necessity to go OEM. Anyway,the OEMs focus on making ultrasound (scanners) or films. Theydon't need us," he said.

Although ALI is based in Canada, the U.S. will be its firstmarket for Mini PACS. Half of the worldwide potential for theproduct is in this market, Hanna said.

Mini PACS acts as a local area network or buffer between ultrasoundscanners and film cameras. The system includes optical disk storage,which will be a prime selling point. Digital archiving can becost-effective, particularly in the obstetrics market, where lawsrequire storage of images for up to 21 years, he said.

ALI decided to focus on ultrasound PACS because it is the fastestgrowing medical imaging modality, but also the least well servedby existing PACS suppliers, he said.

"Most PACS companies, with the exception of the film suppliers,have ignored ultrasound. Yet ultrasound is one of the largestproducers of film in radiology and obstetric departments. Mostapplications in ultrasound generate a fair number of images perexam," Hanna said.