Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (VAR) recently presented encouraging data on a revolutionary pipeline product at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (:ASTRO). This should further boost the positive trend demonstrated by VAR’s stock over the last couple of weeks.
Varian has collaborated with IMRIS Inc., a global leader in providing image-guided therapy solutions, to develop a novel magnetic resonance (MR)-guided radiation therapy platform for cancer treatment.
The new suite is being developed by a team at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and UHN's Techna Institute in Toronto, under the leadership of David Jaffray, a world-renowned radiation physicist. The one-of-a-kind MR-guided radiation therapy system will combine IMRIS's proprietary MR imaging technology with Varian's TrueBeam system to incorporate the use of MR imaging during radiotherapy treatment sessions.
At the ASTRO meeting, Jaffray highlighted the benefits of the new combined system and its ability to enhance accuracy and efficacy of cancer treatment. The Princess Margaret team is planning to explore the system's use in the treatment of prostate, gynecological, and liver cancers. Further, they intend to pursue research in the emerging field of adaptive radiation therapy, where treatment can be modified according to changes in patient anatomy.
Last week, Varian unveiled its latest RapidPlan knowledge-based software at the ASTRO meet. The software provides standard-of-care models for clinicians to use as a baseline for formulating complex intensity-modulated radiotherapy (:IMRT) treatment plans for their patients. However, the product from the company’s Oncology Systems business is yet to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) approval and is not yet available for sale.
Varian is poised to increase its global market share in the radiation oncology market as international markets are still under-equipped to address the growing incidence of cancer. Last month, the company received an order for 20 TrueBeam machines from NHS Supply Chain for NHS hospitals across the U.K. The company also completed the first two planned installations of its Edge Radiosurgery Suite in Europe and the U.S.
The Varian stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While we choose to remain on the sidelines regarding VAR, better-placed medical instruments stocks such as Cynosure, Inc. (CYNO), Natus Medical (BABY) and Echo Therapeutics, Inc. (ECTE) are worth a look at the moment. All of them carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).