Based on its recent analysis of the U.S. positron emission tomography (PET) and PET/computed tomography (CT) markets market, Frost + Sullivan recognizes Zecotek Photonics, Inc. with the 2009 North American Frost + Sullivan Award for Enabling Technology. Zecotek's outstanding R+D has brought forth innovative scintillation crystal and solid-state photo detector technologies that will help deliver cutting-edge oncology, neurology, and cardiology imaging equipment.
"Zecotek is favorably positioned as a global competitor, having been issued or allowed patents for its lutetium fine silicate (LFS) scintillation crystals in many countries and a series of pending and granted patents for its novel solid-state photomultiplier and Depth of Interaction design considerations," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Travis Chong. "The Company is integrating all these components into what it has dubbed the 'Plug to Socket', a very compact detector module element that captures high resolution images, is easy to install, and requires very low servicing."
Zecotek has emerged as a leader in developing affordable, sophisticated photodetector and solid-state technologies for PET/CT and other medical applications. The company first set the standard with its micro-pixel avalanche photo diode (MAPD)-1 concept, whose design and performance characteristics served as a solid-state photodetector design template for the industry over the last several years. The MAPD-1 eventually evolved into the MAPD-2 and MAPD-3, providing better electrical efficiency and imaging capabilities than traditional integrated photo multiplier tubes (PMTs) in scanners.
"Specifically, the MAPD design has been demonstrated to withstand strong magnetic environments created by superconducting magnets used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines - a critical milestone in the pursuit to bring forth PET/MRI from concept to reality," notes Chong. "This enabling technology is expected to rapidly accelerate the development and commercialization of PET/MRI, which is currently being carried out through a collaborative partnership between Zecotek and the University of Washington."
The 64-chip MAPD-3 array, along with Zecotek's LFS scintillation crystals, meets and/or exceeds the performance characteristics of current high-resolution PET/CT scanners. It offers finer electrical efficiency and timing resolution, allowing researchers to improve time-of-flight capabilities of a PET/CT scanner.
From a strategic standpoint, Zecotek has positioned itself well through partnership agreements with several pioneers both within and outside the medical imaging arena. It has established a global footprint for its enabling technologies by entering into partnerships and joint ventures with Northrop Grumman, Fujikura Ltd., and the Malaysian Institute for Microelectronics Systems (MIMOS), a 2007 Frost & Sullivan Award recipient.
In the domestic market, the company has allied with Synoptics, the world's leader in crystal production for medical, military, and industrial applications, to support the production and distribution of its LFS scintillation crystals.
"Zecotek has established secure marketing channels through strategic alliances with top-tier industry participants around the globe, thereby enabling the company to meet higher volume demand and deliver cost-effective products," observes Chong. "The company also continues to validate and create new clinical value for its technologies, especially in the oncology and neurology imaging arena."
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a technology that can benefit or revolutionize the medical imaging industry. The Award recipient has developed a system or enabling component of a system that removes a significant obstacle in the development of next-generation technologies. This breakthrough allows researchers to conduct next-generation medical imaging with superior image resolution and/or improved cost-effectives, leading to significant improvements in disease intervention and management. In addition, the technology promises to serve as a backbone for next-generation imaging equipment, resulting in more compact, robust, and affordable products than previously available. In the end, the utilization of this enabling technology will translate into caregivers providing better patient management and ultimately better patient outcomes.
Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.