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Picker buys out Instrumentariumshare of Nordstar joint venture

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U.S. company assumes control of Outlook salesPicker Nordstar, the novel manufacturing/marketing joint venturebetween Picker International and Instrumentarium Imaging in Helsinki,Finland, took an unexpected turn in late March when

U.S. company assumes control of Outlook sales

Picker Nordstar, the novel manufacturing/marketing joint venturebetween Picker International and Instrumentarium Imaging in Helsinki,Finland, took an unexpected turn in late March when Cleveland-basedPicker bought its partner's shares in the venture.

Operations associated with the 0.23-tesla Outlook, an open-architectureMRI scanner designed and manufactured by Nordstar and marketedby Picker, have been integrated into Picker's MRI division. PickerNordstar will remain headquartered in Helsinki.

Outlook was introduced at the 1994 Radiological Society ofNorth America meeting (SCAN 11/23/94). The scanner is an iron-coreresistive magnet system that employs a technology called electronspin resonance (ESR) to achieve a more stable magnetic field.

Picker and Instrumentarium formed the Nordstar joint venturein 1993 (SCAN 2/10/93). The deal marked Picker's return to thelow-field segment by allowing it to take over sales of Instrumentarium'sMerit 0.1-tesla scanner, as well as MRI R&D technology underdevelopment at Instrumentarium, such as Overhauser MRI. Meritis still being sold, primarily in international markets.

Picker's buyout of Instrumentarium's share of Nordstar is acontinuation of Picker's strategy in the MRI market and will boostthe vendor's prospects in Europe, according to Linda Eastwood,MR group manager.

"It gives us the benefit of working together far moreclosely and it gives us a new base in Europe," she said.

Picker gained complete control over Outlook and the Helsinki-basedengineering group responsible for its development. Robert Gyllingwill continue to manage Nordstar under the new Picker ownership,Eastwood said.

The deal does not affect a separate marketing and manufacturingagreement that assigned Picker the rights to sell Neuromag-122,a magnetoencephalography system. Nordstar will continue to providesome manufacturing and Picker will continue to sell products forthe company, Eastwood said.

Outlook scanner owners will not notice any differences becauseof the ownership change, according to Eastwood.

"The customers were already buying from Picker. It isa Picker product. It is just more fully a Picker product now,"she said.

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