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Picker buys nuclear medicine firm Scinticorfor access to S1M-400 cardiac gamma camera


Single-head system to complement Picker's Prism XP linePicker International last week announced that it has acquiredScinticor, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of cardiac gamma cameras,in a deal concluded Sept. 20. Terms of the acquisition were

Single-head system to complement Picker's Prism XP line

Picker International last week announced that it has acquiredScinticor, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of cardiac gamma cameras,in a deal concluded Sept. 20. Terms of the acquisition were notreleased.

Picker's interest in the company, whose major shareholder isMarquette Electronics of Milwaukee, was purely technological,said Josh Gurewitz, marketing manager for nuclear medicine atthe Cleveland-based vendor. Picker wanted to add Scinticor's single-headS1M-400 camera to its product line because the high count rateof the system enables exercise first-pass studies.

"Most gamma cameras count fast enough to do resting first-passstudies," Gurewitz said. "But the Scinticor camera isthe only one out there that can do exercise first-pass."

The first-pass cardiac exam done with exercise is a sensitiveindicator of cardiac disease, Gurewitz said. To be accurate, theproduct must have a very high count rate. The S1M-400 fits thebill, achieving in excess of one million counts per second, allowingscans to be completed in about one minute. Additionally, the examcan be done with a single injection of technetium, one of theleast costly isotopes on the market.

"Living in an era of managed care in the U.S., peopleare looking for low-cost, efficient, high-throughput systems thatcan quickly assess the patient's cardiac status," Gurewitzsaid. "That is exactly what this camera does."

To get comparable results, a patient would have to go througha stress perfusion study, a lengthy process calling for treadmillexercise and about a half-hour of imaging.

"We could look at 10 or 15 patients in that time and thechances are that if the patient is normal on a first-pass study,the perfusion is also normal, so they do not need the SPECT study,"he said.

Scinticor was formed in 1988 through a buyout of the nuclearmedicine business of Baird Corp. (SCAN 3/16/88). S1M-400 has beenon the market for several years, yet fewer than 200 of the camerashave been installed in the U.S., and even fewer internationally.The problem is not the technology, Gurewitz said.

"Scinticor is a relatively small company that does nothave very strong distribution channels and has only a small salesforce," Gurewitz said. "Visibility has not been there."

S1M-400 will get plenty of visibility as part of the Pickerproduct line, he said. Picker hopes to leverage sales of the camerain the cardiac arena among owners of its Prism XP gamma cameras,as well as to new customers. The product, which has an averageselling price of about $200,000, will be within the budget ofsmall community hospitals as well as large institutions.

Picker plans to continue using the name S1M-400 when the systemis integrated into the Prism XP product line. Picker does notexpect S1M-400 to conflict with sales of these cameras, Gurewitzsaid.

"We see this as a very nice combination with either ourdual-head camera or our triple-head cameras to do a complete nuclearcardiac assessment of the patient," Gurewitz said. "Anyoneinterested in doing accurate, quantitative exercise first-passstudies will need to look at the Scinticor device -- from Picker."

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