Ampersand Medical Group aspires to leadership in cytological invitro and invivo diagnostic systems

Chicago 03 December 1998 What's in a name? A quick glance at the active acquisition policy of Ampersand Medical immediately shows that this privately-held business group takes its company name very literally. In a short time, Ampersand has succeeded in acquiring a number of diagnostic and therapeutic medical device and systems companies. InPath, a cytology system provider, and the Samba cytology/telemedicine business from the French Unilog company are just a few examples. Currently, Ampersand is trying to purchase both the AcCell and TracCell product lines, developed by AccuMed International, Inc.

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What's in a name? A quick glance at the active acquisition policy of Ampersand Medical immediately shows that this privately-held business group takes its company name very literally. In a short time, Ampersand has succeeded in acquiring a number of diagnostic and therapeutic medical device and systems companies. InPath, a cytology system provider, and the Samba cytology/telemedicine business from the French Unilog company are just a few examples. Currently, Ampersand is trying to purchase both the AcCell and TracCell product lines, developed by AccuMed International, Inc.

The recent offer includes cash plus a royalty and a license back to AccuMed for specific technology, owned by Ampersand, to apply on the Savant system, designed by AccuMed. Peter Gombrich, Chief Executive Officer of Ampersand Medical Group, has put both of AccuMed's product lines on his wish-slip because the technology will form an ideal supplement to Ampersand's diagnostic systems and product portfolio. The juicy detail in the whole story consists in the fact that Gombrich has been the founder and former CEO of AccuMed.

The AcCell Cytopathology System comprises a range of automated computer-assisted microscopy workstations and software, which have been integrated with laboratory information systems. In this way, it is possible to screen and diagnose cervical Pap smears and other cytology specimens. AcCell offers a smooth method for analysis of cellular specimens, which allows cytology labs in general as well as cytotechnologists and pathologists in particular to work in a highly efficient manner.

Ampersand is especially interested in acquiring the AcCell 2000, 2001, and 3000 product lines, including both hardware and software. In addition, the intellectual property that goes with these technologies as well as AccuMed's contracted customer base are of equal importance to the medical group. Ampersand is planning to incorporate vital aspects of the AcCell system into elements of its own bio-molecular diagnostic systems. To this purpose, key employees, laid off by AccuMed, will be rehired if possible, to assist in the implementation of the system.

Today, Ampersand Medical Group already hosts several cytology diagnostic companies, such as InPath, a biomolecular medical device company, and Unilog, the French provider of the Samba company product line. Samba has designed and installed extensive telemedicine systems to enable distant analysis of cellular material by medical experts. Next to this, Samba is a manufacturer of advanced imaging software and hardware systems for invitro (out of body) and invivo (in body) cellular analysis. At present, more than 100 of those systems are in use.

Ampersand Medical aims at helping cancer patients by integrating innovative diagnostic and therapeutic technologies in order to optimize methods for both detection and treatment of the disease. Through the intelligent combination of all the acquired products and knowhow from the AccuMed, InPath and Unilog companies, Ampersand will try to generate a fully integrated invitro and invivo diagnostic system, equipped to meet the necessary requirements of comprehensive cytological diagnostic research and services.


Leslie Versweyveld

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