Mercury Computer Systems signs agreements with new PACS vendors and suppports malaria research with Pfizer

Chelmsford 17 July 2006Mercury Computer Systems Inc. has signed strategic agreements with three partners, confirming its top position in the picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) market. The most recent agreements include contracts with FPS in France, Color Printer Systems (CPS) in Germany, and Medical Imaging PACS PTY LTD in Australia. Mercury has also signed an agreement for no-cost licensing of Pfizer's Mercury-based MoViT software to Dr. David Matthews, for use in the support of the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV). Medicines for Malaria Venture is a non-profit organisation committed to discovering, developing and delivering affordable antimalarial drugs. Dr. Matthews, who recently retired from Pfizer, is providing pro-bono services to MMV.

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The PACS agreements expand Mercury's co-operation with medical OEMs, and its PACS installation base to more than 1000 sites worldwide.

"We have thoroughly tested and integrated the Web-based Mercury Visage PACS in our product portfolio", stated Daniel Urbain, CEO of PACS partner FPS in Paris, France. "Visage PACS will replace our previous solution, as its architecture offers considerable advantages. Web-based image distribution enables immediate access to medical imaging data throughout the entire hospital. What's more, 3D functionalities can be utilized directly from the PACS. Since modalities such as multi-slice CT scanners generate an enormous volume of data, flexible integration in a 3D-based platform is the optimal solution for us."

Mercury and its PACS partners provide hospitals with highly integrated solutions that span the diagnostic work flow and significantly accelerate the processing of ever-larger amounts of medical imaging data. Medical OEMs can integrate the Mercury Visage 3D to the Core platform into their solutions, and with thin-client technology, the Visage product family enables instant accessibility to 2D and 3D image data across all hospital departments. This reduces treatment time for patients and optimizes the productivity of diagnostic personnel.

"In Australia, the teleradiology area is a fast growing market", emphasized Dr. Thomas Vargoczky, CEO of Medical Imaging PACS Pty Ltd in Brisbane. "We've chosen Visage PACS, since its Web-based technology ideally supports the requirements of teleradiology." Teleradiology is the electronic transmission of digital radiological images, such as X-rays, CT and MRI scans, for the purposes of interpretation and/or consultation. As images are sometimes transmitted over great distances through standard telephone lines, satellite connections, or wide area networks (WANs), Visage helps to ensure successful, expedient transmission while maintaining image integrity.

Mercury offers its partners a smooth transition and flexible integration into the Visage platform. "With our more than 20 years of computing expertise and innovation in diagnostic medical imaging, we can deliver a solution tailored to the infrastructure of our respective partners", stated Marcelo Lima, Vice President of Commercial Imaging and Visualization at Mercury Computer Systems. "Together with our partners, we help to deliver optimized systems quickly to the market that significantly accelerate the entire diagnostic work flow."

Mercury has fully integrated its Web-based Visage PACS software with the Visage CS Thin Client/Server 3D visualization system, enabling users to seamlessly utilize the 3D functionality of Visage CS within the work flow of Visage PACS. Clinicians and radiologists can access MIP/MPR, volume rendering, and other advanced 3D viewing, navigation, and measurement functions for diagnostics directly within the PACS work flow.

With Visage CS 2.0, Visage PACS becomes a high-performance 3D diagnostic engine, enabling fast 3D viewing and post-processing anywhere in the hospital. Visage CS Thin Client/Server is a truly scalable and reliable image management system, supporting virtually unlimited numbers of users everywhere in the hospital and at remote sites.

Mercury's amira visualization software, based on Version 6.0 of Open Inventor by Mercury Computer Systems, forms the basis for Pfizer's computational biochemistry MoViT software, currently being used by Dr. Matthews to design compounds to help battle malaria for MMV. The compounds will be used to overcome the resistance that malaria protozoa, or single-cell organisms, have developed over time to classical antifolate drugs successfully used in the past to treat the devastating disease. Using Mercury's technology and Pfizer's software, the project has made significant advances over the past 18 months, helping to further MMV's mission.

"Mercury Computer Systems and Pfizer have developed molecular modelling software that provides a powerful computer-based environment for studying the interaction between candidate drug molecules and their malaria protein targets", stated Dr. Matthews. "This software environment is now being effectively applied to better understand structural changes (mutations) that have occurred in a specific malaria protein, dihydrofolate reductase, in response to a previously used class of antimalarial drugs. Because of these drug-induced mutations, the compounds are now less effective in treating the disease. The MoVIT software has been an important tool in facilitating the design of new compounds with greatly increased efficacy against these mutated strains of malaria."

Malaria currently kills between one and two million people annually; the majority of its victims are young children and pregnant women. Along with AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), malaria is one of the world's worst communicable diseases, with an estimated 500 million new cases each year. Although antimalarial drugs have saved hundreds of millions of lives in the past, they have a limited useful life, as do other drugs for infectious diseases, and will eventually need replacing. In fact, drug resistance to older antimalarial drugs is now so prevalent that the public health systems in disease-endemic countries that rely on these drugs have very few effective or affordable options. With better scientific knowledge, it is increasingly possible to develop drugs with longer, more useful lives for treating malaria, and to make a significant health and economic impact on the people and communities affected by this disease.

Mercury is committed to bringing innovation and new products in the space of computational drug discovery. The use of Version 6.0 of Open Inventor by Mercury Computer Systems and the amira software application in conjunction with MMV is the first of a number of projects in which Mercury is developing state-of-the-art structural drug design and analysis solutions for pharmaceutical customers.

"We are thrilled to see our technology being used in the global quest to defeat malaria", stated Marcelo Lima, Vice President and General Manager of the Commercial Imaging and Visualization business at Mercury. "Our Version 6.0 of Open Inventor by Mercury Computer Systems and amira software solutions are designed to enable rapid 3D visualization of complex data, providing instant access to valuable information, a crucial step in the drug and treatment discovery and development process. Mercury's technology and software arm researchers and scientists with unprecedented power and sophistication to develop treatments for malaria."

Mercury Computer Systems Inc. is a supplier of high-performance embedded, real-time digital signal and image processing computer systems. Mercury's products play a critical role in a wide range of applications, transforming sensor data to information for analysis and interpretation. In military reconnaissance and surveillance platforms, the company's systems process real-time radar, sonar, and signals intelligence data. Mercury's systems are also used in state-of-the-art medical diagnostic imaging devices including MRI, PET, and digital X-ray, and in semiconductor imaging applications including photomask generation and wafer inspection.

Mercury provides advanced 3D image processing and visualization software and optimized systems to diverse end markets including life sciences, geosciences, and simulation. The company also provides radio frequency (RF) products for enhanced communications capabilities in military and commercial applications. Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Mercury serves customers in North America, Europe and Asia through its direct sales force and a network of subsidiaries and distributors. More company news is available in the VMW July 2005 article Mercury Computer Systems announces ExamineRT Server/Thin Client solution for 3D imaging in PACS.


Leslie Versweyveld

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