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Philips to buy Sectra's low-dose mammography line for up to $100M

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | June 27, 2011
Philips Healthcare said Monday it reached a deal with Swedish company Sectra AB to buy its low-dose mammography scanner line for a deal worth up to $100 million.

Over the weekend, the two companies hashed out an agreement where Philips would acquire Linköping-based Sectra's MicroDose Mammography scanner technology and related business operations for 57.5 million euros ($82 million) in cash upfront, and an additional 12.5 million euros ($18 million) pending certain conditions.

The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, lands Philips basically all of Sectra Mamea AB, the company's mammography division, which had around $20 million in sales in its most recent financial year. However, Sectra said it will continue to sell and service units in Australia and New Zealand under a separate distribution agreement with Philips. And the sale does not include Sectra's other women's health products, such as mammography PACS or RIS software.
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Once the transaction wraps up, around 110 Sectra employees are expected to transfer to Philips, as the deal includes MicroDose staff in Europe and the United States. The Amersterdam-based electronics giant said it would likely keep the team's current management in place.

According to Philips, the technology was seen as a way to expand its breast care portfolio. Currently, the company's dedicated digital mammography unit, the MammoDiagnost DR, is only available in Europe.

"We have a mammography product that has been optimized for diagnostic breast imaging, but that product was only available in Europe," Steve Klink, a Philips spokesman, told DOTmed News. "What we didn’t have was a product that was optimized for breast screening."

The MicroDose Mammography system uses a technique called photon counting in which X-ray photons are detected individually. This method cuts the radiation dose to patients in half, compared to some digital or film equipment.

A recent Irish study found the mean glandular dose from the Sectra device was around 1.86 mGy, compared to 2.91-3.03 mGy from other models tested.

MicroDose been around for nearly seven years, but has only recently arrived for sale in North America. It was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in April. Before that, in February, the device was approved by Canada's version of the FDA.

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