Sopha parent takes MRI effort; stays out of U.S.

September 8, 1993

Weakness in the global MRI market has prompted gamma camera developerSopha Medical of Buc, France, to withdraw its effort to marketa low-field MRI system in the U.S. Sopha's controlling interest in French MRI developer Magnetechhas been transferred to

Weakness in the global MRI market has prompted gamma camera developerSopha Medical of Buc, France, to withdraw its effort to marketa low-field MRI system in the U.S.

Sopha's controlling interest in French MRI developer Magnetechhas been transferred to parent company CEA-I, which will directMagnetech's product development and marketing, according to SophaMedical Systems vice president of sales Buster Houchins.

Sopha Medical is the parent company of Sopha Medical Systemsof Columbia, MD. The French firm purchased a 51% interest in Magnetechin 1991 (SCAN 5/22/91). Magnetech and the U.S. subsidiary sharedbooth space at last year's Radiological Society of North Americameeting.

Magnetech's 0.1-tesla scanner has been marketed in Europe,and Sopha was considering bringing the unit to the U.S. But ongoingsluggishness in the global MRI market--contrasted with continuedgrowth in nuclear medicine--caused the vendor to scale back itseffort and focus on its core modality.

"It's not an attractive time for a company to enter the(MRI) marketplace," Houchins said.

Sopha transferred its interest to CEA-I this spring, Houchinssaid. CEA-I is the for-profit division of the French government'sAtomic Energy Commission. It acquired a controlling interest inSopha earlier this year (SCAN 4/7/93).