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Varian's TrueBeam at ASTRO

Zacks Equity Research

Leading integrated radiotherapy systems maker Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR - News) will be exhibiting the latest enhancements to its TrueBeam radiotherapy and radiosurgery system at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (“ASTRO”), slated to be held in Miami Beach, Florida, from October 2-4.

The California-based company will showcase, during the ASTRO meet, the latest advancements to its TrueBeam system, including intrafraction motion review (“IMR”). IMR enables physicians to continuously monitor tumor location during treatment using the TrueBeam system to make sure that the tumor does not move out of range with the changes in breathing pattern of a patient.

Varian will feature, at the meet, its full range of products for planning and delivering image-guided radiotherapy and proton therapy along with the latest advancements to devices and softwares. These include a motion management interface for the company’s Trilogy radiotherapy and radiosurgery system for tracking the prostate gland during therapy, a new user-friendly design for the ARIA oncology information system and new tools for using images (including magnetic resonance/MR images).

Moreover, the company will exhibit its pipeline products/advancements including higher dose delivery rates for the Trilogy system and Clinac iX linear accelerator aimed at reducing treatment duration and enhancing clinical efficacy.

Introduced in April 2010, the TrueBeam platform is used in image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery to treat multiple cancer types. TrueBeam enables fast and precise image-guided treatments, allowing patients with various cancer types to benefit from the therapy.

TrueBeam has the capability to provide treatment 50% faster, along with a dose delivery rate that can reach 2,400 monitor units per minute, which is twice the maximum output of conventional systems for radiosurgery or radiotherapy. The enhanced ability ensures that patients experience greater comfort due to shorter treatment periods and superior precision.   

Varian’s Oncology Systems sales climbed 12% year over year in second-quarter 2011, benefiting from strong demand for the TrueBeam system. The company has received orders for roughly 300 TrueBeam systems, since the product’s inception.

Varian is a leading manufacturer of integrated radiotherapy systems for treating cancer and a premier supplier of X-ray tubes for diagnostic imaging applications. In the radiation oncology market, Varian competes head-to-head with Accuray (NasdaqGS: ARAY - News).

Varian is poised to increase its market share in radiation oncology. It is currently enjoying a healthy demand for its RapidArc and TrueBeam radiotherapy technology, which is meaningfully contributing to its oncology net order growth.

However, uncertainties stemming from health care reform and a still weak hospital capital spending environment across many developed countries, especially in Europe, provide headwinds. We currently have a Neutral long-term rating on Varian, supported by a short-term Zacks #3 Rank.

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