Proton therapy is becoming a boutique radiation therapy system for encapsulated tumors. It was initially thought there would be better results over linear accelerator systems for prostate cancer but this is proving not the case. Large capital outlay and is only viable for large university systems such as MD Anderson and Loma Linda.
Learning about Proton Therapy from MARKET WATCH news.
"Unlike standard photon radiotherapy beams, which pass all the way through the patient's body, proton therapy beams can be designed to stop and distribute most of their radiation dose at the tumor. This makes it possible to improve certain cancer treatments by protecting more healthy tissue and thus reduce short- and long-term side effects in cases where surrounding healthy tissues are particularly sensitive to radiation.
Proton therapy is not widely available because systems and treatments are many times more expensive than for standard photon radiotherapy. Experts in radiation oncology estimate that about 10 percent of the patients can benefit from having all or some of their treatment with protons. It is particularly useful in pediatric cases where the patient is still growing and is expected to live for a very long time. It is also useful for treatment of very large tumors, ocular tumors or other tumors adjacent to very sensitive healthy tissue. Today, there are about 30 proton treatment projects in the world either in clinical operation or under construction.
ACCEL's operations will reduce earnings per diluted share by about 3 percent in fiscal year 2007, be about neutral in fiscal year 2008, and be accretive thereafter. Guertin added. "Also with ACCEL's superconducting cyclotron technology, we expect to be able to develop and tailor more affordable proton therapy systems designed for small, single-room centers as well as large, multi-room facilities."
"Remember, over 80% of the stock is held by institutions, do you really think these guys are reading your posts and thinking about heading for the exits or care if VAR pays a small dividend?"
They probably are not reading these posts but they surely must be reading or hearing something that discourages them from investment in VAR. Whether or not they read any of these posts is not the issue.
VAR has dropped over 15% in the last few months...apparently some of the big mutuals and hedge funds HAVE already headed for the exits. The key is how to convince the remaining not to. That's VARs responsibility.
Hey xkr57 and oletimar- I do enjoy your posts.
Remember, over 80% of the stock is held by institutions, do you really think these guys are reading your posts and thinking about heading for the exits or care if VAR pays a small dividend? All they care about is that VAR hits its earnings numbers and gives positive guidance. That's what management is being paid to do. Earnings growth is in line with historical numbers and guidance is also good. I don't see anything in the numbers that gives me reason to panic. If they miss earnings projections or reduce guidance then I'll worry. Management does not control the stock price. As said before, the stock has moved sideways many times before and then surged ahead. The Medical Equipment stock sector has been out of favor for sometime but will come back again and VAR stands out as one of the highest quality companies in the sector. Is there risk in VAR's future, of course but I for one am pleased the way the company is currently being run. I do agree with you that the company could pay a modest dividend, however I don't feel as strongly as you.
Also, var_won is worried that Dick Levy's retirement has a correlation to the stock price. If there is, I believe it is very small. Dick is currently Chairman of the Board and would not allow the company to make any foolish moves.
I realize it is frustrating for some who got into the stock in the last year or so. I think it is a great buy in this price range. I recently picked some shares up and will add again with any further weakness. I believe patience is key to making large gains in this stock.
I agree with you oletimar. The next generation of investors will need to hope that Boeh can do a better job with protons than his lacklustre performance with var's security inspection business. In the meantime we all need to send Guertin a very strong message. Introduce dividends and come up with a sound strategy to build shareholder value or we walk. If we walk in sufficient numbers all those generous stock options of yours will be worthless.
I can only hope that VAR understands that existing shareholders are not about to wait for the success or failure of proton therapy. I can't imaging shareholders wanting to wait for years to realize appreciation due to this technology. Start the dividends, proton therapy is for the next generation of investors, not this one.
Guertin admits this acquisition is dilutive to earnings in the short term but hopes that it will be accretive 3 years hence. In the world of radiation therapy protons are a side show. Unless costs can be cut dramatically there is no way for these treatments ever to become mainstream IMHO. They are likely to remain on the fringes like heavy ions and pi mesons. The cost of the kit is just too great for general use. It seems more likely that the pharma companies will solve the cancer problem, (which is after all a molecular biological problem, not a nuclear physics problem), before anyone makes any serious money out of proton therapy. My view is Guertin would have been doing a better job if he had spent that $30 million on DIVIDENDS for his shareholders.
Medicare and insurance providers have set reimbursement rates enabling proton therapy centers to be paid.
The primary factor holding back these centers is the cost. MD Anderson recently opened one in Houston. The center took 3 years to build and commission at a cost of $125 Million. I think there are only about 5 centers in the US and a little over 20 facilities worldwide.
As more and more positive research and increased precision of the treatments are performed more and more patients will demand this treatment option. If you plan on running a world class cancer facility you will probably have to build one of these facilities in the future. I think Proton Therapy gives VAR an additional cutting edge technology to offer in addition to their other world class products. The acquisition appears to be synergistic and helps to build the VAR brand name.