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Image is everything
WALTHAM, Mass.—With the goal to develop, implement, market and distribute imaging technologies for the treatment of certain types of cancer, technology leader PerkinElmer Inc. has partnered with LinaTech, a manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer with radiotherapy.
Up to now, PerkinElmer's Medical Imaging Group has focused on making digital X-ray detectors and their components. The company has an exclusive relationship with GE Healthcare in which it provides digital detectors for all of GE's diagnostic imaging equipment. PerkinElmer has licensed some intellectual property as a result of that partnership. The group, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and has approximately 150 employees, also makes detectors for oncology and radiotherapy systems as well as X-ray applications for industrial inspection and manufacturing.
In this new partnership with LinaTech, announced in late October, PerkinElmer will co-develop cost-effective imaging solutions that allow customers at hospitals and clinics to upgrade their legacy film-based radiotherapy systems. The solutions developed by the partners also include imaging subsystems for sales to radiotherapy system manufacturers. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
LinaTech was chosen as a partner because of its "unique business model," says Jeffery Foote, vice president of global business development and sales for PerkinElmer's Medical Imaging group. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices.
"What LinaTech has done so far is sell to major system providers who are selling new, state-of-the-art systems," Foote explains. "They approached us a year ago as a customer needing detectors and wanting to build an imaging subsystem around it to be sold to clinics. We don't have the internal expertise to develop application software—we just sell detectors, not software—but by partnering with LinaTech, we bring in their IP. This will allow us to provide greater content for our current OEM customer base."
The companies have kicked off their partnership by agreeing to sell and distribute LinaTech's Targeted Image Guided Radiation Therapy Image Viewing System, or TiGRT IVS, an electronic imaging device used for patient position verification, patient tumor tracking and localization, portal verification and record, dynamic MLC leaf detection, dosimetry verification and exist dose recording. TiGRT IVS uses stand-alone 8" or 16" digital panel hardware and related software for calculating a six-dimensional correction vector that is required to bring the patient to the position and orientation specified in the prescription.
"What this would do is upgrade older legacy imaging equipment in the field that may still have useful life at clinics or hospitals that, for whatever reason, can't fit a new, $1 million to $3 million system in their budgets," explains Foote. "Now we can actually give them some of that capability—we'll take these older systems, upgrade them with digital clinical capability and allow hospitals to be able to use that equipment for several more years."
LinaTech has received FDA approval of the product, which it sells in its native China. PerkinElmer will be introducing it in North America, and adding new "workflow connectivity" capabilities to the first platform that will be sold under the PerkinElmer brand.
The companies showcased the system at the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's recent meeting in San Diego.
"The response has been very positive, especially given current concern about capital equipment expenditures, because this affords another alternative," Foote says. "We're not trying to compete with the new systems, because they have new capabilities that this system won't have."
LinaTech declined requests for interviews for this story. Company president Jonathan Yao said in a statement, "We are delighted to collaborate with a global leader of PerkinElmer's reputation for quality product development, along with unmatched worldwide reach in imaging. We feel that both companies will strongly complement each other as we work toward better solutions for oncology treatment."
LinaTech, headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., also has offices in Shanghai, China, and Tervuren, Belgium.