Privately held Morphormics, founded by faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, develops software that recognizes and extracts anatomical structures from medical images.
Accuray began licensing auto-contouring technology from Morphormics in 2008, using the software to target and draw boundaries around the prostate and nearby tissues.
That allowed Accuray’s CyberKnife radiosurgery system to focus its radiation dose on the prostate and minimize exposure to surrounding tissue.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Accuray plans to extend the auto-contouring technology to both its CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery system and its TomoTherapy devices, which the company acquired with the $277 million buyout of TomoTherapy last summer.
"Since our licensing agreement with Morphormics began, we have seen firsthand the benefits the company’s technology provides clinicians in improving efficiency, especially in the treatment of prostate cancer, and its potential to improve patient outcomes," Accuray president & CEO Euan Thomson said in prepared remarks. "The acquisition of Morphormics will expand Accuray’s IP portfolio, reduce our licensing expenses and strengthen our engineering team with top talent from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."
"This strategic acquisition is another important step toward providing leading-edge treatment solutions personalized for each cancer patient," Thomson added.
Accuray’s CyberKnife system is part of an aggressive campaign to tilt market share in the company’s favor as cross-town rival Intuitive Surgical’s (NSDQ:ISRG) da Vinci surgical robot maintains its hold on surgical prostatectomy procedures.
Earlier this year Accuray announced a head-to-head clinical trial comparing the da Vinci system to the CyberKnife in treatment of prostate cancer, the first study of its kind to compare radiation therapy, robot-assisted surgery and CyberKnife radiosurgery.
ARAY shares were down 2.1% to $6.44 as of about 1:10 p.m. today.