Health Industry Today

New 3-D/4-D ultrasound imaging system to sell to cardiologists

New 3-D/4-D ultrasound imaging system to sell to cardiologists – TomTec Imaging Systems Inc

TomTec Imaging Systems, Inc., Boulder, Colo., is approaching cardiologists in this country as it moves ahead with the marketing of EchoView, a 3-D/4-D analysis system for the reconstruction of ultrasound images that require specialized image acquisition and processing techniques. The company received FDA clearance to sell the EchoView, regarded primarily as a research tool, in late January and will also sell a more utilitarian version known as the [P.sup.90] to hospitals. The [P.sup.90] version is simpler to use and is readily adaptable to ultrasound units already in place in many U.S. health care facilities.

The EchoView and its accompanying EchoScan data acquisition system, for which TomTec expects FDA clearance this month, is being hailed as a major step in making 3-D and 4-D ultrasound a clinically accepted and valuable diagnostic tool. Larry Brennan, TomTec’s senior marketing manager, defines 4-D as basically a 3-D view that can seen in motion. This capability makes the TomTec system particularly advantageous in cardiac applications. Both products have been available overseas as investigational devices since 1990, and to date more than 100 systems have been installed worldwide.

The company launched the EchoView in March at the American College of Cardiology meeting and plans to display it at the American Heart Assn. annual meeting and the Radiological Society of North America meeting, both scheduled for November. Several European shows are also on the schedule, most notably the European Congress of Cardiology this summer in Amsterdam. Journal ads are also planned, including insertions in the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Assn. journals. TomTec expects to devote 75% of its marketing effort to cardiologists, with the remainder to general imaging radiologists and vascular surgeons. A small, regionally placed seven-person direct sales force calls on physicians.

Brennan expects most customers to purchase the device, though a leasing program is available. Upon FDA clearance for the companion EchoScan, a complete system is expected to sell for approximately $100,000. He projects a seemingly modest $2.5 million in sales in the first year, though the sky is definitely the limit for the product. U.S. ultrasound sales, an indicator of potential EchoView and EchoScan sales, have been estimated at the $600 million level.

The company is actively pursuing national accounts for its new product. A contract with the Child Health Corp. of America, Shawnee Mission, Kan., has already been signed, and negotiations with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., Nashville, Tenn., and Premier Health Alliance, Westchester, Ill., are under way.

TomTec, a leader in ultrasound image acquisition and analysis technology, was created in December 1993 following the merger of TomTec Tomographic Technologies and Prism Imaging/Freeland Systems. Its European headquarters are in Munich, Germany.

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