Profile: Varian Medical Systems Inc (VAR.N)
25 Jul 2014
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., incorporated on January 22, 1976, is a manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy. The Company is a supplier of X-ray imaging components for medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. The Company's mission is to explore and develop radiation technology that helps to protect and save lives and prevent harm. The Company offers tools for fighting cancer, taking X-ray images and protecting ports and borders. The Company's Oncology Systems business segment designs, manufactures, sells and services hardware and software products for treating cancer with conventional radiotherapy, including IMRT, IGRT and volumetric modulated arc therapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and brachytherapy. In April 2014, the Company acquired certain assets of Velocity Medical Solutions, LLC.
The Company's products include linear accelerators, brachytherapy afterloaders, treatment simulation and verification equipment and accessories; as well as information management, treatment planning and image processing software. The Company's products enable radiation oncology departments in hospitals and clinics to perform conventional radiotherapy treatments and offer advanced treatments such as fixed field intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy, and stereotactic radiotherapy, as well as to treat patients using brachytherapy techniques. The Company's products are also used by surgeons and radiation oncologists to perform radiosurgery. The Company's worldwide customers include university research and community hospitals, private and governmental institutions, healthcare agencies, doctors' offices and cancer care clinics.
The Company reports Security and Inspection Products ( sips), Varian Particle Therapy (VPT) and Ginzton Technology Center (GTC), under the Other category. GTC, the Company's scientific research facility, develops technologies that enhance its current businesses or may lead to new business areas, including technology to improve radiation therapy and X-ray imaging, as well as other technology for a variety of applications, including security and cargo screening. GTC is also actively engaged in searching for chemical or biological agents that work synergistically with radiation to improve treatment outcomes. The Company's SIP business designs, manufactures, sells and services Linatron X-ray accelerators, imaging processing software and image detection products (including IntellX) for security and inspection purposes, such as cargo screening at ports and borders and nondestructive examination in a variety of applications. The Company generally sells SIP products to OEM customers who incorporate its products into their inspection systems.
The Company's VPT business develops, designs, manufactures, sells and services products and systems for delivering proton therapy, another form of external beam radiotherapy using proton beams, for the treatment of cancer. Although proton therapy has been in clinical use for more than four decades, it has not been widely deployed due to high capital cost. The Company's focus is commercializing the Company's ProBeam proton therapy system and bringing its traditional radiation therapy to proton therapy to improve its clinical utility and to reduce its cost of treatment per patient.
The Company's Oncology Systems business segment is the provider of advanced hardware and software products for treatment of cancer with conventional radiation therapy, IMRT, IGRT, volumetric modulated arc therapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, SRS, SBRT and brachytherapy. Oncology Systems products address each aspect of the radiotherapy process, including linear accelerators and accessory products for positioning the patient and delivering the X-ray beam; brachytherapy afterloaders for delivering radioactive implantable seeds; treatment planning software for planning treatment sessions and dose delivery; treatment simulation and verification equipment and quality assurance software for simulating and verifying treatment plans before treatment as well as verification of correct treatment delivery; and information management software for recording the history and results of treatments and other patient treatment information and data, including patient X-ray images.
The focus of the Company's Oncology Systems business is addressing the key concerns of the market for advanced cancer care systems; improving efficiency, precision, cost-effectiveness and ease of delivery of these treatments; and providing greater access to advanced treatments. The Company's products and accessories for IMRT and IGRT allow clinicians to track and treat tumors using precisely shaped beams, targeting the tumor as closely as possible and allowing the delivery of higher doses to the tumor while limiting exposure of nearby healthy tissue. Additionally, the precision and versatility of the Company's products and technology makes it possible to use radiotherapy to treat metastatic cancers. With the Company's treatment planning, verification and information management software products, a patient's treatment plans, treatment data and images are recorded and stored in a single database shared by each of its products, which enables better communication among products. The Company's products also allow multiple medical specialties - radiation oncology, neurosurgery, radiographic imaging and medical oncology - to share equipment, resources and information in a more efficient, cost-effective manner.
Linear accelerators are the core device for delivering conventional external beam radiotherapy, IMRT, IGRT, volumetric modulated arc therapy treatments, stereotactic radio surgery and the Company produces versions of these devices to suit various clinical requirements. The Company's Clinac medical linear accelerators are used to treat cancer by producing therapeutic electrons and X-ray beams that target tumors and other diseases. The Clinac iX linear accelerators are designed for more streamlined and advanced treatment processes, including IMRT and IGRT. The Company also produces the Trilogy linear accelerator, designed to be a versatile, cost-effective, precise device with a faster dose delivery rate and more precise isocenter compared to the Clinac iX. At the high end, the TrueBeam system for image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery is a fully-integrated system designed from the ground up to treat a moving target with higher speed and accuracy and complements the Company's accelerator product line portfolio.
The Company also manufactures and market linear accelerator accessories that enhance efficiency and enables delivery of advanced treatments such as IMRT, IGRT, stereotactic radiotherapy, SRS, SBRT and volumetric modulated arc therapy. The Company's Millennium series of multi- leaf collimators and High Definition 120 (HD 120) multi-leaf collimators are used with a linear accelerator to define the size, shape and intensity of the generated beams. PortalVision, the Company's electronic portal-imager, is used to verify a patient's position while on the treatment couch, which is critical for accurate treatments and simplifies quality assurance of individual treatment plans. The Company also offers a real-time patient position monitoring product, the RPM respiratory gating system, which allows the linear accelerator to be synchronized with patient breathing to help compensate for tumor motion during treatment.
The Company's IGRT accessories include the On-Board Imager (OBI) hardware accessory affixed to the linear accelerator that allows dynamic, real-time imaging of tumors while the patient is on the treatment couch and a cone-beam computerized tomography (CBCT) imaging software accessory that works with the OBI to allow patient positioning based on soft-tissue anatomy. Using sophisticated image analysis tools, the CBCT scan can be compared with a reference CT scan taken previously to determine how the treatment couch should be adjusted to fine-tune and verify the patient's treatment setup and positioning prior to delivery of the radiation. To deliver the advanced forms of IGRT, the Company's accelerators would typically have an OBI, CBCT, PortalVision and other IGRT-related hardware and software as accessories.
the Company's ARIA Oncology Information Management System (ARIA) is a comprehensive real-time information management system and database that records and verifies radiotherapy treatments carried out on the linear accelerator, records and stores patient data relating to chemotherapy treatment which may be prescribed by a physician in addition to radiotherapy, performs patient charting and manages patient information and patient image data. This gives clinics and hospitals the ability to manage treatment and patient information across radiation oncology and medical oncology procedures.
The Company's brachytherapy operations design, manufacture, sell and service advanced brachytherapy products, including VariSource HDR afterloaders and GammaMed HDR/PDR afterloaders, BrachyVision brachytherapy treatment planning system, applicators and accessories. Brachytherapy also develops and markets the VariSeed LDR prostate treatment planning system and the Vitesse software for real-time treatment planning for HDR prostate brachytherapy.
The Company's X-Ray Products business segment is engaged in designing and manufacturing X-ray tubes, flat panel detectors and image processing tools, which are key components of X-ray imaging systems. The Company sells its products to OEM customers both for incorporation into new system configurations and as replacement components for installed systems. The Company conducts an active research and development programs to focus on new technology and applications in both the medical and industrial X-ray imaging markets.
The Company manufactures X-ray tubes for four primary medical diagnostic radiology applications: CT scanners, radiographic or fluoroscopic imaging, special procedures, and mammography. The Company also offers a line of industrial X-ray tubes, which consist of analytical X-ray tubes used for X-ray fluorescence and diffraction, as well as tubes used for non-destructive imaging and gauging and airport baggage inspection systems.
The Company's flat panel detectors, which are based on amorphous silicon imaging technologies, have broad application as an alternative to image intensifier tubes and X-ray film. The Company's flat panel detector products are being incorporated into next generation filmless medical diagnostic, dental, veterinary, and industrial inspection imaging systems and also serve as a key component of the Company's OBI, which helps enable IGRT. The Company believes that imaging equipment based on amorphous silicon technologies is more stable and reliable , needs fewer adjustments, suffers less degradation over time than images intensifier tubes, and is more cost effective than X-ray film.
The Company's SIP business designs, manufactures, sells and services Linatron X-ray accelerators, imaging processing software and image detection products for security and inspection purposes, such as cargo screening at ports and borders and nondestructive examination in a variety of applications. The Linatron M-i is a dual energy accelerator that can perform non-intrusive inspection of cargo containers and aid in automatically detecting and alerting operators when high-density nuclear materials associated with dirty bombs or weapons of mass destruction are present during cargo screening. The Linatron K-15 is a high-energy accelerator for inspection of dense objects, including, for example, manufactured segments used in the Ariane rocket program in Europe. IntellX is a gantry-based imaging system for cargo screening.Generally, the Company sells its SIP products to OEM customers who incorporate its products into OEM inspection systems. The OEM customers sell the systems to customs and other government agencies for use in overseas ports and borders to screen overland, rail, and sea cargo for contraband, weapons, narcotics and explosives, as well as for manifest verification. The Company also sells its SIP products to commercial enterprises in the casting, power, aerospace, chemical, petro-chemical and automotive industries for nondestructive product examination purposes.
The Company's VPT business develops, designs, manufactures, sells and services products and systems for delivering proton therapy, another form of external beam therapy using proton beams, for the treatment of cancer. The Company's ProBeam system is capable of delivering precise intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) using pencil beam scanning technology. Proton therapy is a preferred option for treating certain cancers, particularly tumors near critical structures such as the optic nerve and cancers in children. Although proton therapy has been in clinical use for more than four decades, it has not been widely deployed due to high capital cost. Proton therapy facilities are construction projects that are time consuming, involves customer investment and often complex project financing.
The Company's VPT technology and systems are in operation at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland and the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center in Munich, Germany. GTC, the Company's scientific research facility, continues to invest in developing technologies that enhance its current businesses or may lead to new business areas, including next generation digital X-ray imaging technology, volumetric and functional imaging, and improved X-ray sources and technology for security and cargo screening applications. In addition, GTC is developing technologies and products that are designed to improve disease management by more precise targeting of radiation, as well as by employing targeted energy and molecular agents to enhance the effectiveness and broaden the application of radiation therapy. GTC is also actively engaged in searching for chemical or biological agents that work synergistically with radiation to improve treatment outcomes.
The Company competes with Toshiba Corporation, Carestream Health, Inc., Hitachi Medical Corporation, Planmeca Oy, Siemens AG, Dental Imaging Technologies Corporation, Hologic Inc., GE Healthcare, Philips Medical Systems, Sound-Eklin Medical Systems, Smiths Detection, Rapiscan Systems, Inc., American Science & Engineering, Inc. and L3 Communications.
Varian Medical Systems Inc
3100 Hansen Way
PALO ALTO CA 94304-1000