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Preparing for the impact of COVID-19 in the molecular imaging market

June 09, 2020
Molecular Imaging
GE debuted Discovery IQ Gen 2 PET/CT system at SNMMI 2019
From the May 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Edward Rodriguez

By the end of the first quarter of 2020, the expected impact of COVID-19 in various industries became an important topic.
COVID-19 created an imbalance of the supply and demand curves within the healthcare sector, with an increased demand in PPE and ventilation equipment. Many companies throughout the U.S. reconfigured their plants to increase supplies and equipment that common healthcare vendors were unable to produce during the pandemic. Many clients began to cut budgets in their imaging departments to better prepare for the unknown effects in the market and to allocate funds to departments directly impacted by COVID-19.

Capital equipment in markets such as ultrasound and mobile X-ray units have seen an increase in activity due to the progression of respiratory distress in COVID-19 patients. MarketsandMarkets.com previously projected growth in the nuclear medicine market from an estimated USD 2.2 billion in 2019 to USD 2.7 billion by 2024, a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period. The molecular imaging market ended 2020 Q1 with a 50.5% decline in activity from Q4 of the previous year. This statistic correlates with the decline in activity seen from 2018 Q4 to the end of 2019 Q1. Historically, the market has seen an increase in activity from Q1 to Q2 of 40%. As of the date when this article was researched, the market for molecular imaging capital had 0% activity in the month of April. Many clients are echoing similar feedback. There is an unknown financial impact that many hospital systems are preparing for, as many have experienced a drastic decline in census.

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During the past 12 months, in Molecular Imaging capital, there has been strong activity with 57% of interest shown in Single-photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) imaging systems, followed by 25% in Nuclear Medicine CT imaging systems (Nuc. Med.), and finally 18% in Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) imaging systems. Siemens Healthineers’ Symbia Evo system is the most active in the SPECT market with an average purchase price (APP) of $295k. GE offers the NM 830 system with an APP of $300k. Siemens offers the Symbia Intevo Excel in this market with an APP of $475k that has seen minimal activity. Although there are a few other offerings within the market, the imaging systems cited above are the most active.

As mentioned previously, Nuc. Med. is the second-most-active market segment within Molecular Imaging systems. As in the SPECT market, Siemens and GE are the most active vendors. With an APP of $585k, GE’s NM/CT 870 model is the most active. Siemens has two systems in this market that are gaining traction, the Symbia Intevo 6 and the Symbia Intevo Bold. These systems have an APP of $630k and $785k, respectively.

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