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Varian Medical Systems (VAR - Analyst Report) recently revealed that Institut Curie, a renowned European cancer center which mostly operates in and around Paris, had ordered one NovalisTx piece and three TrueBeam systems, in order to replace obsolete equipment.   

Institut Curie plans to use the new equipment to develop new treatments at its center in Paris. It will also use the incoming machinery to generate new methodologies at its Saint-Cloud unit.  It is expected that the new equipment, ordered around the middle of 2012, will be delivered by Varian sometime between from late 2012 and early 2014.

Founded in 1909, Institut Curie delivers cancer treatment to more than 5,000 individuals each year. It also functions as a significant cancer research outfit in France. It will use the incoming TrueBeam equipment for both research and treatment purposes.  

Varian is a leading manufacturer of integrated radiotherapy systems for cancer treatment, and a premier supplier of X-ray tubes for diagnostic imaging applications. The company operates in a technology-driven environment where success depends on the use of new technology, product development and upgrades. In the radiation oncology market, Varian competes with Accuray (ARAY - Analyst Report).

Varian is poised to increase its market share in radiation oncology. It currently enjoys a healthy demand for its coveted TrueBeam technology, which has meaningfully contributed to its net order oncology growth. Varian’s TrueBeam was created to treat tumors with beams of high speed and precision. It incorporates several technological innovations such as positioning the patient and managing his/her motion. It can dispense dosage roughly four times faster than that possible with earlier equipment. NovalisTx similarly permits medical practitioners engaged in radiosurgery to provide strong doses to lesions and tumors in less than half a dozen sittings.

Moreover, Varian enjoys a strong balance sheet marked by low debt and sizeable cash. The company uses a part of its healthy cash flow for share repurchases.

However, Varian competes with larger players in a technology-intensive industry. Further, uncertainties stemming from health care reform and a still-weak hospital capital spending environment across many developed countries in Europe, are significant challenges.

We are currently ‘Neutral’ on Varian. The stock retains a Zacks #4 Rank, which translates into a short-term Sell rating.

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