Varian enters Taiwan

February 23, 2009

Other headlines:Cancer center CEO touts TomoTherapyHansen Medical president plans to leave

Varian Medical's RapidArc Therapy is up and running at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, the first such facility in the island nation to offer the technology. Its first beneficiary, a 50-year-old male patient with head and neck cancer, was treated in two and a half minutes using two arcs, or rotations, of the machine. By comparison, conventional intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatments would have taken up to 10 minutes.

Cancer center CEO touts TomoTherapy

The chief executive at the West Michigan Cancer Center in Kalamazoo last week handed TomoTherapy some ammunition for its fight against the global economic meltdown. In a talk delivered at the Association of Cancer Executives annual meeting in Sarasota, FL, Terry McKay lauded TomoTherapy's integrated radiotherapy/imaging system as having "the greatest potential for enhancing cancer treatment moving forward." McKay described how the machine, in the months since its purchase, has allowed the treatment of complex cases at the Michigan center. "Our referring physicians are beginning to understand this," she said. "We are attracting more patients because of TomoTherapy."

Hansen Medical president plans to leave

Gary C. Restani will step down as president and COO of Hansen Medical March 1, and he will not seek reelection to its board of directors, according to a corporate filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A separation agreement signed Feb. 19 calls for the company to pay Restani his base salary and health benefits for 12 months beginning March 1 as well as provide him with 125,000 fully vested stock units. In return, Restani will immediately cancel all of his options to purchase shares of the company's common stock. Severance benefits are contingent on a general release by Restani of any claims against the company.

Earlier in the month, the company released fourth-quarter and year-end results, showing a 74% increase in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2008, to $7.3 million compared with the year-earlier period. The maker of surgical robots recorded a net loss for the three months of $14.9 million versus a net loss of $23.9 million in the year-earlier period. In fiscal 2008, total revenues nearly tripled to $30.2 million from $10.1 million. Net loss was $53.4 million compared with a loss of $50.4 million in the previous year.