PACS OEM tumult continues: Du Pont and ISG talking

April 20, 1994

Deal would be ISG's first film OEM Spring is here, and courting has picked up in the PACS segmentof the medical imaging industry. Vendors are forming new OEM-supplyalliances at a frenzied pace. The latest partnership would involve Canadian

Deal would be ISG's first film OEM

Spring is here, and courting has picked up in the PACS segmentof the medical imaging industry. Vendors are forming new OEM-supplyalliances at a frenzied pace.

The latest partnership would involve Canadian medical imagingtechnology developer ISG Technologies and film/PACS supplier DuPont. Talks between the two firms will likely result in Du Pontproviding ISG workstations to its customers.

The Du Pont negotiations are the latest result of a three-prongedstrategy that Mississauga, Ontario-based ISG is taking to marketits products. The strategy includes:** Licensing its imaging applicationsplatform (IAP) software to companies developing imaging applications.IAP is an object-oriented software platform that vendors can useto speed up the development of custom applications. ISG has licensedIAP to GE, Philips, Advanced NMR, Otsuka and Hitachi.

** Using an OEM to sell its image-guided surgery products,led by Viewing Wand. The wand uses a position-sensing arm to localizeintraoperative probes on CT or MRI displays. ISG is marketingViewing Wand through Elekta Instruments of Sweden. Twenty-sixsystems have been installed around the world. Viewing Wand isawaiting Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance in theU.S.

** Lining up OEMs for its distributed review and second-consoleworkstations. The distributed workstations include Digital Alternator,Digital Diagnosis Station and Physician Review Station, whichdebuted at last year's Radiological Society of North America meeting(SCAN 12/15/93).

An agreement with Du Pont would be ISG's first for its distributedworkstation technology, according to Tom Ekers, vice presidentof product groups and marketing.

"The film companies come at the imaging community froma different perspective than a scanner manufacturer," Ekerssaid. "Their primary interest is in distributed workstationsand the technologies we have to add to or enhance their networkcapabilities. The manufacturers come at it from an equipment acquisitionstandpoint. One of our goals is to play in both games."

If consummated, a Du Pont/ISG alliance would be the latestround in an ongoing game of musical chairs between PACS industryplayers. Du Pont's current PACS partner is ISG competitor Cemax.Du Pont, of Wilmington, DE, has been looking for additional PACSpartners, however, and used ISG workstations connected to itsLinx network at the RSNA meeting.

Cemax earlier this year signed a joint marketing agreementwith Du Pont competitor 3M (SCAN 3/2/94). The Cemax move was nota factor in Du Pont's decision to hook up with ISG, accordingto Jim Mulvaney, marketing manager for digital imaging systems.Cemax products will continue to be offered in addition to theISG line, Mulvaney said.

"We have a joint marketing agreement with Cemax, and thatwill not change," Mulvaney said. "Many companies havedifferent companies for different applications. Both companieshave excellent products."

ISG is awaiting FDA marketing clearance for Digital Alternator,Digital Review Station and Physician Review Station. The companyexpects to have products shipping in quantity in the third quarterof this year, according to Ekers.

GE strengthens focus on standard x-rayGE Medical Systems reportedlast month that it plans to introduce a new low-priced x-ray linepositioned to compete head-to-head with U.S. competitors BennettX-ray and Continental X-ray in emerging medical imaging markets.Bennett, in particular, has had success boosting exports by stressingx-ray products for developing world markets, including equipmentdesigned in accordance with the World Health Organization's basicradiological systems (BRS) program (SCAN 6/16/93).

GE also used the Society of Cardiovascular and InterventionalRadiology meeting in San Diego last month to signal progress inits joint x-ray relationship with Fischer Imaging, initiated inJanuary (SCAN 2/2/94). GE and Fischer will produce the AdvantexTC, a new interventional table.