“Wildly Compelling” MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy! ViewRay (VRAY, NASDAQ)

Apr 03

“Wildly Compelling” MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy! ViewRay (VRAY, NASDAQ)

For the first time ever, doctors have a machine that really works on pancreas cancers!


ViewRay (VRAY, NASDAQ) designs, manufactures and markets “MRIdian”, the world’s first and only MRI-guided radiation therapy system that can image and treat cancer patients simultaneously.


VRAY -- mridian


MRIdian was purposefully built, following a decade of R&D by ViewRay, to address the key limitations of existing external-beam radiation therapy technologies.  With help from “SmartVision”, a proprietary software, MRIdian is capable of targeting and tracking the position and shape of soft-tissue tumors while radiation is delivered.


…can you believe it, without ViewRay clinicians are blind while delivering radiation (X-rays cannot see soft-tissue tumors).


For the first time ever, doctors have a machine that really works on pancreas cancers!  The data is still early but “wildly compelling” according CEO Chris Raanes.  When looking back on 40 pancreas tumor cases, the survival rate doubled.  In other words, with only a 20% chance of living more than one year with pancreatic cancer, according to the American Cancer Association, people might be living twice as long (or more!) thanks to ViewRay’s MRIdian technology.


VRAY -- how


A term they call “adaptive radiated therapy” is a prime reason MRIdian is so effective.  By adaptive, ViewRay means if the small intestines get in the way of radiating the pancreas, doctors can see and then shape them a little differently.  That’s hugely important because it allows doctors to be more aggressive.  With MRIdian, doctors are applying up to twice the dosage, yet precisely, and not harming healthy tissue nearby.


…now, with the MRIdian, radiation oncologists can see and adapt like a surgeon.


Frequently, doctors are forced to limit the dosage because a lack or precision causes more harm than good to other parts of the body (thus delivering a less powerful blow to the tumor).


Doctors are really excited about the MRIdian because it’s a repeatable procedure.


It can be done again and again and again on most parts of the body.


VRAY -- types


Ultimately, increased target accuracy combined with improved tumor visibility and accurate dose recording means clinicians can treat patients who would not previously have been considered radiation therapy candidates.


ViewRay believes MRIdian will significantly improve the safety and efficacy of radiation therapy, leading to improved patient outcomes with reduced side-effects from off-target radiation delivery.


Presently, you’ll only find a MRIdian device inside some of the most prestigious university hospitals (across the U.S. and Japan).  But this device could eventually be used in nearly every community hospital – it really works and it’s good for everyone!


VRAY -- winning


Breast cancers represent about 30% of the treatments in every community hospital.  ViewRay now has +3 years worth of clinical experience showing the clear advantages of MRI guided radiation therapy on breast cancer.


…it all sounds great, so the skeptical analyst community would ask:


Can ViewRay’s technology be copied by the big guys?


And that is a great question because ViewRay is still a small cap, sub $500 million company.  Clearly a compelling story early in its life, but can they compete, survive, and thrive?


Well, their CEO, Raanes, argues that ViewRay is not the first company to say “combining MRI with radiation delivery is a really good idea”. There is a history of attempts, one of the industry’s largest players tried and failed.  ViewRay is the first company to figure out how to do it.


MRIdian didn’t happen overnight, it took a decade to develop.  The difficult nature lies in such a device being a hard engineering and physics problem to solve (relating to how strong magnets and radiation interact).


Raanes said ViewRay has patented the best way to make this device, and they think they’ve also patented all the pretty good ways.


Upwardly Trending Yet Sitting Near Support!


A perfect combination?


VRAY -- ch 318


Equipment sales into the radiation oncology market are primarily driven by “replacements”.  There’s about 11,000 machines worldwide and each needs to be replaced every decade.  ViewRay is competing for roughly half of an estimated 1,100 sales each year.  At year-end,ViewRay’s backlog grew to a record $203 million.


The company is looking to be in the 40 to 50% gross margin range upon ramping up.


In Summary:  Guided by real-time MRI, for the first time ever a radiation oncologist can see what’s happening as radiation is being delivered. ViewRay’s patented MRIdian technology and proprietary SmartVision software help ensure the tumor is never missed. Plus, it prevents healthy tissue and nearby body parts from being hit with radiation. Clinical data proves this matters! As a company ViewRay is helping save and extend lives (and they could also make you lots of money).

Article first published at BullMarketRun.


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