Positron lays low at SNM meeting

June 25, 1997

PET manufacturer Positron kept a low profile at this month's Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting, as it is working out cash-flow problems that have dogged it for the past several months. While Positron executives attended the meeting, the company decided

PET manufacturer Positron kept a low profile at this month's Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting, as it is working out cash-flow problems that have dogged it for the past several months. While Positron executives attended the meeting, the company decided to forgo exhibiting while it puts its financial house in order.

The Houston-based company has been struggling since April, when it announced that it would not be able to execute its acquisition of the PET manufacturing capacity of GE Medical Systems of Milwaukee (SCAN 4/30/97). Positron has been looking for additional equity investors since then, and has also been mulling the possibility of a strategic partnership that could involve a merger with another company.

Positron executive vice president Howard Baker said he attended the SNM meeting, but the company chose not to exhibit, both to conserve cash and because it was an awkward time for the firm, given its recent financial difficulties.

"We felt that with all the rumors, it's better to have all this behind us than for us to be there in a defensive position," Baker said.

Positron's quest for additional investors or a strategic partner is close to fruition, and the company expects to make an announcement in the next several weeks, Baker said. Positron was especially encouraged by the high profile that PET and high-energy imaging techniques had at the SNM conference.

Also this month, Positron released its financial results for the first quarter of 1997 (end-March) that highlighted the company's difficult financial position. Positron's revenue for the period fell to $622,000 from $1.2 million in the first quarter of 1996, due to lower system sales. Positron's net loss shrank to $1.4 million from $2.1 million the year before, because the 1996 loss included a one-time $1 million provision for the field upgrade of previously sold equipment.