Editors' Note: There will be a conference call for media at 12:00 CST time with Jeffrey R. Immelt, president and CEO of GE Medical Systems, and Richard M. Levy, president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems. The conference call number is 800/374-0061. The call leader is Jeffrey Immelt.
PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BW HealthWire)--Jan. 12, 2000-- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) and GE Medical Systems (NYSE: GE) today announced a North American marketing, sales, and product development alliance to supply health care providers with a combined package of state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy systems for treating cancer. The alliance is expected to accelerate deployment of integrated systems for advanced radiotherapy, including high resolution IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy).
As part of the alliance, GE Medical Systems' computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, and positron emission tomography (PET) diagnostic imaging products will be made available to North American radiation oncology customers exclusively through Varian Medical Systems marketing and sales channels. The two companies also will collaborate on information technology and product development to integrate diagnostic and radiation therapy systems for improved patient care and cancer management.
"This alliance reinforces GE's commitment to imaging technology to aid in the detection and treatment of cancer," said Jeffrey R. Immelt, president and CEO of GE Medical Systems. "While diagnostic imaging today is primarily from CT, we see significant new opportunities for PET and MR (magnetic resonance) as well. This partnership with Varian Medical Systems will create a more comprehensive package and vital imaging and treatment information for doctors and their patients."
"This alliance enables radiation oncology departments in hospitals, clinics, and universities across North America to have access to the broadest range of the world's leading diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy systems from a single source," said Richard M. Levy, president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems. "The alliance focuses two leading companies on a significant opportunity to accelerate the use of IMRT, a new technique that is fast becoming acknowledged for revolutionizing cancer treatment. It's good news for health care providers and even better news for patients."
Financial terms of the four-year agreement are not being disclosed, but each company expects incremental growth in the radiation oncology market after the initial start-up period that will begin in February. Both companies will continue to operate independently.
By combining state-of-the-art imaging capabilities that portray cancerous activity inside cells with ultra-precise radiation targeting systems, physicians will be able to 'see and treat' disease more effectively than ever. There have been significant improvements in image quality, clinical applications and exam speed in areas like PET, digital mammography, MR spectroscopy, and multi-slice CT. GE Medical Systems' imaging products together with Varian Medical Systems SmartBeam(TM) IMRT technology provide physicians with all the tools needed to deliver high-resolution IMRT in which radiation doses are increased to eradicate tumors with minimal complications or exposure of healthy tissue. Recently published data by early adopters of this technology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center shows as much as a 70 percent improvement in prostate cancer outcomes versus conventional treatment modalities.
Until now, radiation oncology departments at hospitals, clinics, and universities have often had to source radiotherapy systems and a full range of diagnostic imaging systems separately. This has contributed to delayed deployment of new treatment technologies by putting healthcare providers in the position of having to integrate systems and sort through equipment and software incompatibilities. In addition to accelerating deployment of IMRT among North American health care providers, the new alliance is expected to lead to faster development of more fully-integrated systems to improve cancer treatment outcomes. The parties will cooperate to develop customized products for radiotherapy customers. GE and Varian Medical Systems also will collaborate on content for an online Web site dedicated to oncology and cancer treatment information.
Varian Medical Systems oncology unit supplies the world's only single-sourced, fully integrated radiotherapy system for treatment planning, delivery, and verification. Its Generation 6™ system provides the highest resolution and most precisely targeted IMRT available for patients. Current radiotherapy products from Varian Medical Systems include Ximatron® simulators for treatment planning; Clinac® linear accelerators, Millennium™ multi-leaf collimators, and Exact™ patient couches for treatment delivery; and portal imaging systems for treatment verification. System software includes VARiS® patient and treatment data management tools; Vision tools for importing, processing, and storing diagnostic images; and CadPlan Plus™ and Helios™ treatment planning software. "Integrating this new treatment system with advanced diagnostic imaging systems is the next logical step in the evolution of radiation therapy," said Levy.
GE Medical Systems is a $6 billion global leader in medical diagnostic and monitoring equipment and services, including conventional and digital X-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), ultrasound, patient monitoring, positron emission tomography, nuclear medicine, and health care management. For more information, visit the GE Medical Systems Web site at gemedicalsystems.com.
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE: VAR) of Palo Alto, Calif., is the world's leading manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, which are treating thousands of patients per day. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs 2,300 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 40 sales and support offices around the world. In its most recent fiscal year ended October 1, 1999, Varian Medical Systems reported sales of $590 million. Additional information is available at www.varian.com/fi/vms/.
This press release contains certain forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which provides a "safe harbor" for these types of statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results of Varian Medical Systems, Inc. to differ materially from management's current expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, product demand and market acceptance risks; new product development and commercialization; the impact of managed care initiatives in the U.S. on capital expenditures and resulting pressures on medical equipment purchases; and other risks detailed in Varian Medical Systems, Inc. filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Varian Medical Systems, Inc. assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.