Siemens plans launch of prone biopsy system

September 26, 2006

Siemens Medical Solutions will launch its newly acquired MammoTest breast biopsy table at the RSNA meeting. The rights to the system were acquired by Siemens this summer from now-defunct Fischer Imaging in a deal brokered by the Federal Trade Commission. By late November, the company expects that its managers in every country will be versed in the prone stereotactic biopsy unit and ready to begin selling it globally, said Erica Rouleau, national sales director for women’s health at Siemens.

Siemens Medical Solutions will launch its newly acquired MammoTest breast biopsy table at the RSNA meeting. The rights to the system were acquired by Siemens this summer from now-defunct Fischer Imaging in a deal brokered by the Federal Trade Commission. By late November, the company expects that its managers in every country will be versed in the prone stereotactic biopsy unit and ready to begin selling it globally, said Erica Rouleau, national sales director for women's health at Siemens.

"The RSNA meeting is a great time to launch this product because of the strong U.S. presence at this meeting and because Siemens historically has had a nice attendance from its global customer base," she said.

Newly minted systems will begin rolling off the Siemens assembly line in Germany to pilot sites around December or January, according to Rouleau, who plans to leverage the availability of this system with promotions that bundle it with the company's other mammography products.

The German company offers a range of screening and diagnostic mammography products, both digital and analog. Among them is Opdima, an upright stereotactic digital spot system. MammoTest, a prone unit, offers an important option.

"It is definitely a different approach from what we have had," she said. "With MammoTest, we have a full breadth of offerings."

When Siemens rolls its new product onto the RSNA exhibit floor, the system will be virtually indistinguishable from those already installed by Fischer. The biggest change may be the Siemens brand on the product.

Lack of time has prevented the company from making more significant changes. By the time the RSNA meeting comes around, only a few months will have passed since Siemens purchased the intellectual property (IP) to MammoTest, a move made possible when the FTC decided that the initial purchase of IP by Hologic would give the women's health specialist too much power in the marketplace (DI SCAN 7/10/06, "FTC scuttles Hologic purchase of some Fischer Imaging assets" ).

Over the next year or so, however, Siemens plans to migrate its syngo software platform to the product, giving it a common look and feel with the firm's other products.

The name MammoTest will be maintained, for the time being.

"There is a lot of good will in that name," Rouleau said. "But over the long term, this will be discussed, as we might want to change the name to bring it into the scope of our product line."

In the meantime, Siemens will try to establish itself as a provider of the product, calling on the installed base of MammoTest users to gauge interest in upgrades, as well as service. Whether Siemens will perform the maintenance or outsource the work to a partner has yet to be resolved, she said.