After a rough year, PET stands to shine

After a rough year, PET stands to shine

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | June 11, 2012
From the June 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


“It increased our sales four fold,” says Don Bogutski, the company’s founder and president.

Diagnostix found that PET was able to dramatically improve the diagnosis of some of the most difficult heart patients. Bogutski said customers told him that PET eliminated almost 100 percent of the false positives that were being referred from SPECT.

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Cardiology practices have increasingly been choosing PET over SPECT in recent years not only because it’s more effective in diagnosis, but also because it’s more efficient.

“With SPECT, it takes almost six hours to complete an entire cardiac workup. It’s an enormous burden on the health care system. PET can do the same thing in about 45 minutes,” says Satrajit Misra, head of business development and marketing for nuclear medicine at Philips Healthcare.

Several years ago, Positron Corporation created a business around the market for dedicated PET for cardiology. Positron’s Attrius has been on the market since 2010 and it’s the only standalone PET scanner available today.

“We were seeing a diversion away from PET to PET/CT and we didn’t feel there was a good enough reason to justify the CT addition to PET for cardiology,” says Joseph Oliverio, chief technical officer at Positron. “There are a lot of differences between PET and PET/CT when it comes to oncological imaging. But for cardiology, it’s difficult to find a justifiable reason for its costs, size and incremental findings.”

Like other stand-alone PET sellers and dealers, he says that the rubidium recall has been tough on business: “It’s basically halted dedicated PET sales to zero, as you can imagine.” So much so, that Positron reported that it did not sell any machines between July 1 and December 31, 2011.

Further, in November 2011, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Positron’s Chairman and CEO, Patrick Rooney. The SEC claims that Rooney defrauded investors of the hedge fund he operates, Solaris Opportunity Fund, LP. In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the SEC alleges that Rooney “used the fund as Positron’s piggy bank and caused the fund to finance Positron when it had no other sources of funding.”

Even with that hit, Positron has been working toward developing a 70 MeV domestic cyclotron and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Noblesville, Indiana last summer to carry out a relocation project bent on spurring economic growth.

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