TeraRecon acquired by SymphonyAI – the Signify view

TeraRecon acquired by SymphonyAI – the Signify view

March 11, 2020
Business Affairs Health IT

The SymphonyAI acquisition will give TeraRecon the financial firepower to protect and enforce these patents. The company has signaled its plans to pursue infringements of its patents, but also wants to position itself as a technology enabler by licensing its technologies to other vendors.

Impact on core AV business
TeraRecon is a significant vendor in the AV software market, holding a top 10 share of the market globally and top 5 position in the North American market, based on revenue share. However, it has for some time been one of the few remaining independent AV firms, competing against major healthcare technology vendors like GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthineers, Philips and Canon (Vital Images), all of which have extensive advanced imaging modality hardware businesses and considerably larger operational and R&D war chests. While TeraRecon has used its independence as an advantage in past years, recent market changes have softened this message. Broadly, large healthcare providers in North America and internationally are looking to consolidate imaging informatics, under a broader enterprise imaging strategy. This has placed more focus on a “one throat to choke” play, with major deals leaning toward vendors that can offer not just AV platforms and tools, but also offer the full range of clinical viewing, diagnostic tool set (PACS), operational and workflow modules, image exchange and vendor-neutral archiving. Of the top five market leaders, TeraRecon is the only one without a broader informatics portfolio.

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TeraRecon has (and correctly in our opinion) expanded its focus to the emerging AI market. By positioning itself as a best-of-breed AI vendor with established AV capabilities, it has stolen a lead on its larger competitors in terms of AI platform development. This has also paid dividends for the firm in terms of retaining its existing AV customer base; the optics of leadership in the AI segment has, in some cases, prompted contract renewals and upgrades to higher tiers of its AV products. In doing so, this has, for the near-term, stemmed the tide in terms of addressing how TeraRecon can compete with the growing push toward imaging IT consolidation and single vendor purchasing.

The SymphonyAI deal will have the most impact in the mid- to long-term. Given the greater R&D firepower and advanced modality businesses of its market peers, it's arguable that TeraRecon may have struggled to compete as an independent AV firm in the AI era for AV. However, with a considerable backer in SymphonyAI, it is now better positioned to stay ahead of the curve and develop a compelling best-of-breed, AI-enabled imaging analysis platform that customers will prioritize over single vendor consolidation. Of note from the announcement was the focus on “image-related decision support”, with neurology and oncology highlighted as new areas of focus outside of its more familiar radiology, cardiology and vascular surgery segments. This broader capability will be necessary to compete with its peers, but also factors in the growing use of imaging and decision support in multidisciplinary care pathways, especially in oncology where demand for solutions to support “tumour board” care team meetings has ramped up considerably.

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