by Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | April 26, 2012
On Wednesday, a strategic global partnership between Varian Medical Systems and Siemens Healthcare was announced; through the collaboration, the companies aim to offer advanced diagnostic and therapeutic solutions and services, utilizing image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery to treat cancer.
While Siemens, headquartered in Erlangen, Germany, exited the linear accelerator market earlier this year to concentrate on modalities with higher margins, the company's imaging technology makes it a world-class leader, according to Meryl Ginsberg, Varian's director of public relations. This is something Varian, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., doesn't do.
"So now that we aren't competitors, it was easy to see where our interests could actually be aligned," she told DOTmed News. "We can enhance each other's opportunities globally by representing each other's products to our respective customers."
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The agreement states that Siemens' diagnostic imaging products will be represented by Varian, including: CT, PET/CT or MRI to radiation oncology clinics around the world. In most international markets, this will begin immediately, expanding to North America later this year. Similarly, Siemens will represent Varian's radiotherapy and radiosurgery equipment.
“When Siemens Healthcare launched our Agenda 2013 global initiative in Nov. 2011, we made it very clear that we want to resposition our radiooncology business to be the imaging partner of choice in this field,” Matthias Kraemer, Siemens’ global head of media relations, told DOTmed News. “And this is exactly what we are doing with this Varian partnership: we will remain committed to our radiation therapy customers and will bring our imaging engineering to the table.”
Varian's ARIA oncology information software will be connected to Siemens accelerators and imaging systems through interfaces developed by both companies.
"Siemens' medical linear accelerators, which are in the field, don't interface with Varian's software, so we are going to make sure clinics can have Varian software products for managing the clinics and for treatment planning and still be able to work with their Siemens linear accelerators," Ginsberg explained. "The other kind of software connectivity we will be looking at more and more will have to do with the chain from diagnostic imaging to treatment planning to treatment delivery and oncology and ways in which that work-flow can be enhanced with mutual inter-connectivity."
Through the partnership, Varian and Siemens will be able to co-develop and offer cancer treatment centers new imaging and treatment solutions utilizing both companies' strengths and technologies.
"With this collaboration, we are going to be in a position to really serve the radiation oncology market even better together than we were doing separately and that is going to be good for cancer patients," said Ginsberg.