Under the 2-year, non-exclusive agreement, Medtronic SNT, a manufacturer of image-guided surgery systems, will work with Accuray in a lead generation programme that includes market research, education, and promotion of the CyberKnife to neurosurgeons and health care facilities interested in radiosurgery of the brain and spine. Medtronic, headquartered in Minneapolis, provides lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease.
"We are pleased to be able to market the CyberKnife to our neurosurgery customer base. The CyberKnife is an exciting product and certainly fits with our commitment to providing surgeons innovative technology for minimally invasive surgery. Medtronic SNT will now be able to offer neurosurgeons solutions integrating image-guidance not only for surgical navigation in the Operating Room suite but also for tumour localisation in the radiosurgery suite", commented Curtis Goode, Vice President of Sales at Medtronic SNT.
"We are thrilled to have a company with Medtronic's resources and leadership position in the neurosurgery field augmenting our sales efforts in the United States", stated Thierry Thaure, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Accuray. "Through this agreement, we will significantly expand our marketing outreach with access to Medtronic SNT's more than 70 employees in the field. Our sales teams will jointly educate surgeons on the excellent clinical results seen to date with the CyberKnife in treating brain and spinal tumours non-invasively."
"As a company, this is an exciting period of growth for us. The CyberKnife has recently been acquired by several leading neurosurgical centres in the United States. With the CyberKnife's expanded capability beyond that of conventional radiosurgical systems, we believe there is significant untapped market potential. The joint marketing agreement with Medtronic will accelerate our lead generation and education of neurosurgeons on the advantages of the CyberKnife", concluded Mr. Thaure.
Under the second agreement, Taiwan-based PMTC, a distributor of medical equipment and supplies, will serve as Accuray's exclusive distributor in countries throughout Asia except Japan, where a prior agreement with Meditec Corporation is already in place. PMTC has agreed to meet minimum sales volume requirements for CyberKnife units each year.
The first unit is scheduled for shipment to PMTC next quarter in March 2003. As part of the agreement, PMTC will also invest in sales and marketing personnel and local regulatory and medical reimbursement support in the covered territories. Accuray will provide installation and technical field service support. PMTC's parent company Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, a billion-dollar Taiwan-based conglomerate, is an investor in Accuray.
"We are very pleased to have PMTC manage distribution of the CyberKnife in Asia. Their experienced distributor network in this diverse region will allow us to immediately broaden our marketing reach and streamline our expansion in one of the world's largest medical device markets", stated Euan Thomson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Accuray. Accuray will continue to sell to customers in the United States through its own direct sales force and is investigating potential partners and distributors for the European market.
Huan Chiu Kuo, General Manager of PMTC commented: "In line with our commitment to bringing the latest in medical technology to patients in Asia, we are very proud to add the CyberKnife to our line of products. We believe the CyberKnife is superior to competitive products and will be attractive to more physicians and health care facilities because of its expanded applications and increased patient comfort. We are very excited about working with Accuray and believe the market potential in Asia is significant."
The CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System is a robotic radiosurgery device that ablates tumours and other lesions without open surgery. It delivers multiple beams of precisely directed radiation that converge upon the tumour while minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. The CyberKnife is the only system in the world that integrates image-guidance and robotic delivery of radiation.
Conventional systems rely on an external metal frame attached to the skull for target localisation, which limits their application to lesions in the head. The CyberKnife instead uses internal reference points in the anatomy such as bony landmarks or small implanted markers that are monitored by the CyberKnife's image-guidance system, to enable frameless treatment of lesions anywhere in the body.
The unique CyberKnife technology was developed in co-operation with Stanford University and was cleared by the FDA in August 2001 to provide radiosurgery for lesions anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is indicated. To date, more than 3000 patients have been treated by the CyberKnife worldwide.
CyberKnife with DTS, or Direct Tracking Software, enables full-body radiosurgery by using image guidance throughout treatment. The CyberKnife is the only radiosurgical system in the world incorporating robotics and image-guidance to precisely correct for patient movement during actual treatment delivery. In addition, the CyberKnife can treat in single or staged sessions, typically 3 to 5 times. The level of accuracy achievable by the system allows higher doses of radiation to be used, which provides the potential for greater tumour-killing efficacy and greater likelihood of cure.
Accuray is a privately held corporation whose primary focus is to revolutionise the treatment of solid cancers throughout the body by the precise delivery of high doses of radiation using the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System. Through the development and promotion of the CyberKnife system and participation in ongoing clinical research at prominent academic hospitals, Accuray will help make stereotactic radiosurgery a viable and accessible option for patients all over the world. More news on the company is available in the VMW November 2002 article Accuray unveils three new CyberKnife radiosurgery products at the annual ASTRO meeting.