Hologic has won FDA approval for an add-on to its 3D mammography technology designed to cut radiology review times, the company said Tuesday.
The time savings are enabled by the use of software to reconstruct images into larger slices, thereby reducing the number of images by 66%.
Hologic claims the technology saves radiologists one hour per eight hours of interpretation.
Hologic's original tomosynthesis technology works by taking images of the breast at multiple angles. The reconstruction of these images creates a series of 1mm slices for radiologists to review for signs of breast cancer.
The newly approved technology, called 3DQuorum Imaging Technology, powered by Genius AI, builds on that underlying system by modifying the reconstruction step. Instead of creating 1mm slices, it reconstructs thicker, 6mm slices and flags up areas of the image that may be of clinical interest. Hologic claims the new reconstruction software preserves important features of the image.
By increasing the thickness of the slices, Hologic intends to reduce the volume of images radiologists need to review to tell whether a patient has breast cancer. In doing so, Hologic could cut image review times.
Hologic attributed the anticipated time savings to the use of its Genius AI technology platform. 3DQuorum is the first approved Hologic product built on top of the platform. Hologic plans to use the AI platform in more products over the coming years.
Speaking to investors on a quarterly results conference call earlier this month, Hologic CEO Steve MacMillan framed the introduction of AI products as a way to help retain a leadership position in breast health, rather than a direct, near-term driver of sales growth.
"We think it's going to help establish that much more of a moat around our business," MacMillan said. "I don't think you'll be able to meaningfully break out that AI products are going to add 'X' million of growth, but they will start to dribble in here later on in 2020 and then start to contribute more in 2021 and beyond."
MacMillan’s comments followed another quarter of growth at the breast health unit, the performance of which has offset Hologic's faltering move into medical aesthetics over the past two years. Global breast health sales grew 7.1% in the quarter, fueled by rising demand in the U.S. and overseas.