The first company to win FDA approval for its digital x-ray system has moved from its midtown Manhattan office to suburban Westchester County, expanding its office space and giving it a location near a site where one of its leading products is in
The first company to win FDA approval for its digital x-ray system has moved from its midtown Manhattan office to suburban Westchester County, expanding its office space and giving it a location near a site where one of its leading products is in operation.
Swissray Medical, which is headquartered in Switzerland and has about 140 employees worldwide, has moved its 15-person North American headquarters to Elmsford, NY, near Westchester County Medical Center, where it can demonstrate its ddR-Multi-System direct digital radiography system to potential customers.
We have become very successful with ddR systems and needed more support staff, said Ueli Laupper, CEO of Swissrays North American operation. Were expanding staff and operations and needed a bigger location. This way, were five minutes from a hospital where we can show customers a system in operation.
Swissray first gained attention in 1995 with its AddOn-Bucky, an x-ray digitization system based on charge-coupled device (CCD) technology, and received a 510(k) clearance in 1997 for its AddOn-Multi-System (later rechristened the ddR-Multi-System).
Despite that promising start, Swissrays stock declined steadily and it was delisted from the NASDAQ stock exchange in October 1998 when its per share price fell below $1. Now, however, the companys stock is back up to a share value of $2 to $2.50, according to Laupper, who said the companys goal is to get back on the NASDAQ, and that the process to do so is in place.
The first two years (after FDA clearance in 1998) were difficult in terms of finding a lot of clients because we had to convince people of the advantages of ddR, and that Swissray would be able to support its customers, Laupper said. The year 2000 has been very good to us. Two years of heavy investment is starting to pay us back.
Swissray expanded its product line with the 1999 RSNA meeting introduction of the ddRChest-System and ddRCombi, a digital x-ray unit aimed at emergency room/trauma centers. Both systems employ Swissrays ddR-Bucky CCD-based digital detector.
The company hit pay dirt last October when the Romanian Ministry of Health awarded it a $13 million contract for 32 ddR-Multi-Systems, to be installed in hospitals throughout Romania. Swissray signed a one-year exclusive distribution agreement in the same month with Hitachi Medical Systems America for sales, marketing, and service for ddR in certain parts of the U.S. (SCAN 9/1/99).
The first ddRCombi in the U.S. is set to debut in early September at Southside Hospital in Bayshore, NY. Laupper wouldnt divulge how many orders the company has received before release of its fourth-quarter financials in September, but said they have many in backlog.