Sopha parent will sell venture in low-field MRI

November 3, 1993

Sopha Medical Systems' short-lived effort to expand into the U.S.MRI market is about to come to an end. The nuclear camera andcomputer vendor's parent company is close to completing a dealto shed the MRI venture, according to Buster Houchins, vice

Sopha Medical Systems' short-lived effort to expand into the U.S.MRI market is about to come to an end. The nuclear camera andcomputer vendor's parent company is close to completing a dealto shed the MRI venture, according to Buster Houchins, vice presidentof sales.

Sopha Medical of Buc, France, acquired French MRI developerMagnetech in 1991 by purchasing a 51% share of the company (SCAN5/22/91).

Sopha had plans for a U.S. introduction of Magnetech's 0.1-teslascanner, dubbed Sophymag, and displayed the unit at the 1992 meetingof the Radiological Society of North America. Magnetech was subsequentlyrenamed Sopha Imaging.

Softness in the global MRI market derailed Sopha's plans tobecome an MRI contender, however.

Sopha transferred its interest in Sopha Imaging to parent CEA-Industrieafter a controlling interest in Sopha was purchased by that divisionof the French government's Atomic Energy Commission (SCAN 4/7/93).

CEA-I shortly thereafter began exploring its options for theMRI subsidiary (SCAN 9/8/93). Some of those options included takingbids from buyers interested in purchasing Sopha Imaging.

That process is nearly complete and CEA-I is in the final stagesof negotiations with an unnamed buyer, according to Houchins.The sale should be completed by the end of November and an announcementwill probably be made at this year's RSNA meeting.

"We've decided to focus on nuclear medicine," Houchinssaid.

Six Sophymag scanners have been installed in Europe, accordingto Houchins.