Ultrasound maker Butterfly Network’s $1.5B merger, Philips beats antitrust claims, plus more vendor news

Ultrasound maker Butterfly Network has announced plans to merge with the Longview Acquisition Corp. in a deal valued at $1.5 billion, the two announced Friday.

The latter is a “special purpose acquisition company” affiliated with hedge fund Glenview Capital Management. Following the deal’s close, the combined companies said they plan to begin trading Butterfly’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

Founded in 2011, the Guilford, Connecticut, company’s goal is to “democratize” imaging through its portable ultrasound technology that connects to mobile devices.

“We believe the combination with such a premier healthcare partner as Longview Acquisition Corp. will amplify and accelerate the adoption of Butterfly iQ around the world,” CEO Laurent Faracci said in a statement. “This partnership will enable us to bring more Butterfly innovative solutions to market faster, helping us improve patient outcomes and the way healthcare is delivered."

Both companies’ boards have unanimously approved the merger, which they hope to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Early court victory for Philips

A federal court has tossed a counterclaim filed against Philips, accusing the imaging giant of anticompetitive business practices.

It was about a year ago that the Dutch manufacturer first accused Summit Imaging of hacking into its ultrasound machines and other devices and stealing trade secrets. The Seattle-area firm fired back over the summer, maintaining that Philips is attempting to shut down third parties that service and repair its equipment.

The U.S. District Court in Western Washington, however, has rejected Summit’s antitrust accusations this month Bloomberg Law reported. Philips was protected from such claims, the report noted, based on its “First Amendment right to petition the government.”

The court did grant Summit a chance to amend its complaint. And it also declined to dismiss Summit’s charge that Philips’ copyrights should be declared invalid because it allegedly used them to stifle competition, according to Bloomberg.

GE Healthcare’s new acquisition

GE Healthcare has announced plans to acquire Swedish startup Prismatic Sensors, the two announced on Thursday.

The smaller firm specializes in photon-counting detectors, which GE hopes can help revolutionize computed tomography delivery, according to an announcement.

“We believe this technology has the potential to be a substantial step forward for CT imaging to establish a new standard of care and eventually improve clinical outcomes for millions of patients worldwide,” President and CEO Kieran Murphy said in a statement.

GE believes PCCT can help to expand the clinical capabilities of traditional imaging, officials said, including the visualization of minute details in organs, improved tissue characterization, and more accurate material density measurement.

Subtle Medical raises $12M

Subtle Medical recently raised $12.2 million in new funding, the Menlo Park, California-based imaging technology firm announced Thursday.

This latest cash infusion comes by way of 3E Bioventures Capital, with several other investors also pitching in. Subtle labels itself as the industry’s first creator of artificial intelligence-powered, vendor-agnostic software to enhance MR and PET images.

More than 50 sites across the globe have adopted its solutions, including Affidea, one of the European Union’s largest imaging providers. Subtle Medical said it will use the funds to pursue “rapid geographic expansion.”

Rapid fire

A few more radiology vendor news items of note, in rapid fashion:

  • Nuance on Monday announced the integration of radiology data interoperability standards into its PowerScribe One platform.
  • GE Healthcare this week also unveiled a new AI algorithm to help providers assess endotracheal tube placements.
  • Fujifilm last week entered the surgical C-arm and radiographic fluoroscopy markets.
  • Hackensack Radiology Group in New Jersey said it’s deploying vendor Royal’s solutions to allow for contactless patient check-in during the pandemic.
  • And finally, International Medical Solutions recently released a new solution that allows radiologists to access and share images through Microsoft’s server for DICOM.