Polaroid edges Helios toward commercial launch

April 8, 1992

Polaroid Medical Imaging Systems is building a direct sales forceto handle the Helios non-silver-halide, dry-processing laser imager.The firm has also signed about 10 letters of intent for OEM supplyof the innovative medical imaging camera. Initial OEM

Polaroid Medical Imaging Systems is building a direct sales forceto handle the Helios non-silver-halide, dry-processing laser imager.The firm has also signed about 10 letters of intent for OEM supplyof the innovative medical imaging camera. Initial OEM qualificationtesting of Helios should begin in the second or third quarterof this year, said Leonard Aberbach, vice president and divisionmanager.

Helios was first shown as a works-in-progress product at the1989 Radiological Society of North America meeting. Polaroid hadhoped at first to initiate OEM qualification and direct saleslast year (SCAN 1/30/91).

"We are very sensitive about ensuring that we have thekind of reliability necessary when we come out (with a commercialproduct). That is always a concern with anything fundamentallynew. When we get going, we want to get off on the right foot,"he said.

Helios has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.In fact, this is the first Polaroid product monitored by the FDA.This makes the firm even more anxious to ensure that the systemis launched properly, Aberbach said.

While commercialization of Helios is taking longer than firstexpected, the film company has made a substantial commitment tothe product and continues to invest significant resources in preparationfor manufacturing and sales. The Polaroid process for introducingmajor new products is a deliberate and rigorous one, Aberbachsaid.

"As in most companies developing this kind of complexand sophisticated system, there are a lot of milestones that wehave on our way to final internal approval of the product,"he told SCAN. "We have a process that culminates in whatwe call an approval for sale. It is a very formal process withall kinds of testing and assessment from all aspects of the company,including legal, environmental and all organizations involvedwith manufacturing."

As the Helios effort progresses in the Polaroid launch process,the organization is edged forward another notch. In January, PMISmoved into a new headquarters facility located in Newton, MA.Hardware manufacturing for Helios is centered there, as are theengineering, sales, marketing and service organizations, he said.

"When we pass certain milestones, that clicks off thenext phase of hiring, Aberbach said.

PMIS hired Samuel W. Fader in February as national sales manager.Fader is now in the process of building the direct component ofPolaroid's medical sales force.

The other component, OEM sales, is being coordinated by G.William Buttwin, OEM sales manager, who was hired by Polaroidlast June.

Fader has 24 years of experience with competitor Du Pont andwas most recently national sales manager for picture archivingand communications system supplier Advanced Video Products. Buttwinhas close to 20 years of experience in the medical imaging industry,most recently with Agfa, Aberbach said.