Ion Beam's (OTCPK:IOBCF) proton therapy (PT) rooms and systems are used to treat cancers where conventional radiotherapy is too risky for patients. These include eye and brain cancers, pediatric cancers, prostate, liver, lung, breast, as well as head and neck cancers. Some believe PT will become the treatment of choice going forward for these complex cancers, and Ion Beam thinks 20% of radiation therapy patients could benefit from these treatments. In 2016 alone the company sold 17 PT rooms (8 systems) and signed 42 PT services contracts.
Viewray's (NASDAQ:VRAY) MRIdian Linac is the first approved MRI guided radiation therapy system that can locate and treat tumors simultaneously as radiation is being delivered. The product has the potential to replace X-ray guided linear accelerators, as it improves tumors visibility and patient alignment. MRIdian Linac is currently installed in four treatment centers in the U.S and five centers in other countries.
Both of these companies have made exciting developments in radiation oncology, and could play a larger role in market in the future. We're conducting an interview with a radiation oncologist from a leading treatment center to learn where their products fall in the treatment landscape.
Why Investors Should Care:
An estimated 21,800 Linac and 2,035 PT rooms will be needed by 2035, and there were only 13,100 and 270 respectively at the end of 2015 (source)
These products are relatively new, and could replace standard of care X-ray guided linear accelerators.
The discussion will provide valuable insight into how these products are positioned in a growing market.
Why Speak to an Expert:
With the high cost of these devices and relatively few centers around the US, speaking to an expert that routinely uses the device gives investors a unique perspective into evaluating the future market potential.
The discussion will focus on data and treatment results for Ion Beam's products, and will touch on Viewray's position in the industry
The expert will be able to discuss how these products compete or complement each other, and give a more clear understanding of the future of radiation oncology.
Who's the Expert?
Radiation oncologist at Texas Center for Proton Therapy, the first center in North America to treat a patient with Ion Beam's IBA Proteus Plus device.
Currently treats 20 patients with proton therapy.
Board Certified in Radiation Oncology for both Adults and Pediatrics specializing in CNS proton radiotherapy
Questions Investors Are Asking the Expert:
Please describe your experience using radiation therapy to treat patients with cancer. How many patients do you see and what types of cancer have you treated?
What is your typical treatment path for your patients? How safe and effective are current treatment methods?.
Please describe the role of proton therapy in radiation therapy.
What are the benefits of IB Proteus plus? How has your experience with this device compared to other treatment options?
How does the IB Proteus PLUS proton therapy compare to other radiation devices such as ViewRay's MRIdian Linac? Do you see any benefits of one over the other?
Ion Beam's mission is to help the 20% of radiation therapy patients that could benefit from proton therapy. Who are these patients and why can they benefit from proton therapy? What benefit do they receive and what are the downsides to proton therapy?
The company claims that proton therapy leaves little to no radiation behind the tumor, lowers the integral dose per treatment and the risk of side effects, and may improve the quality of life during and after treatment. How accurate are these claims?
Is the market for proton therapy limited to the 20% of radiation therapy patients identified by Ion Beam?
Will ViewRay's MRIdian Linac and Ion Beam's proton therapy compete against each other or could they possible be used together in treatment?
What are your opinions on ViewRay's MRIdian Linac? How does it improve radiation treatment, and does it have any drawbacks?
How do you view the potential market for both products? Could either become part of SOC in radiation therapy? How do you view this market changing over the next few years.
If you're interested in accessing the this interview with a radiation oncologist (listening live or to a recording immediately after) and adding your questions for the expert, click here. Four weeks after the call is executed, a full transcript will be posted to our Seeking Alpha Premium Service.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
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