Bracco to acquire advanced Dextroscope and Dextrobeam 3D visualisation technology from Volume Interactions

Milan 21 February 2002Bracco, an Italian expert in diagnostic imaging, and Volume Interactions, a Singapore company specialised in the development of advanced software applications for the medical field, have reached an agreement on collaboration in the area of high tech systems for use in diagnosis and surgery. Bracco will acquire an eighty percent share in Volume Interactions; the remaining 20 percent will remain in the hands of the firm's management. The company was founded in 2000 as a spin-off of Kent Ridge Digital Labs, the most prestigious research institute in the Information Technology sector operating in Singapore.

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This acquisition not only continues by means of a network of direct presences and alliances to consolidate the Bracco Group's presence in important high tech markets like the United States and the Far East, but it also reaffirms Bracco's key strategy of promoting integrated solutions for health care.

"Bracco is developing a series of capabilities and products", underlined Maurizio Denaro, Vice President Group Research and Development, "ranging from diagnostic devices to administering systems, all of which compliment our line of contrast agents, the Group's core business. With the acquisition of Volume Interactions, the most avant-garde company in the world in its field, we are now entering into the area of the utilisation of the diagnostic image through its manipulation. Volume Interactions has developed sophisticated systems to support surgery both in diagnostic stages, as well as in the actual surgical planning stages."

The two new systems created by Volume Interactions, Dextroscope and Dextrobeam, are composed of a hardware and software platform, that is, a computer and a sophisticated software application. The system enables a surgeon to visualise images in three dimensions and to manipulate in virtual reality the area to be operated on, practising all the various phases of an operation prior to the actual surgery. The uncannily life-like simulation takes place in real time.

Specifically, the system allows the doctor to intervene in a "virtual" form on diagnostic images obtained by CAT scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or other examinations, and to elaborate in 3D from the computer so as to realistically simulate an operation and carry out a virtual intervention. This technology has already been used successfully in operations to separate Siamese twins, including the famous case of the Nepalese twins, attached at the head, who were operated on in Singapore last April.

There are currently about ten Dextroscope systems which have been tested and installed in principle research centres and international hospitals throughout the world, such as the Max Planck Institute in Germany, the Radiology Department of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, renowned as the top clinical centre in existence.

The Bracco Group closed out the year 2000 with total sales of Euro 995 million, 63 percent of which was generated by foreign markets. The company is active in 115 countries and employs more than 3500 people throughout the world, more than 500 of them working in research. Indeed, Bracco invested a whopping 16 percent of its turnover in research activities last year.

Bracco, in addition to being a specialist in the field of contrast media agents, is also developing an integrated approach to diagnostic imaging that ranges from equipment, handled by the Esaote Group of Genoa, one of the principle manufacturers in the world of medical and ultrasound devices, to drug administration systems. The company recently purchased a 100 percent interest in Acist Medical Systems, an American expert in the field of advanced systems of contrast agent injection.

More news about Volume Interactions' Dextroscope and Dextrobeam technologies and their use in the separation of Siamese twins is available in the following VMW articles:


Leslie Versweyveld

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