Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), the world leader in radiotherapy and radiosurgery, is working with key development agencies in Russia to encourage the country's leading research institutes and scientists to collaborate on research and development proposals for programs aimed at advancing radiotherapy technology.
"The leading technologists within Varian have defined five future development opportunities and will entertain research proposals that address these challenges from scientists in Russia's R&D community," says Scott Johnson, Varian's senior manager of research collaborations, who is coordinating Varian's support for the project.
"This is a new type of process for Varian and we are looking forward to supporting forward-thinking, next-generation research that could well be developed and commercialized." Varian has contributed $50,000 to this venture, which will be combined with other funds equaling $100K in prize money for the team or teams with the best proposals.
The program presents the Russian R&D community with the opportunity to take a focused look at the needs of radiotherapy. "We believe this will yield significant benefits to cancer patients not only in Russia but throughout the world. Russia was the first country to put a man into space and it has a deep, sophisticated technological base in radiation technologies," Johnson says.
The topics specified by Varian technologists include new solutions for treatment planning, new technologies in brachytherapy, new ways of detecting targets on computed tomography and magnetic resonance images, designs for compact and low cost proton accelerators, and new target materials and designs for converting electron beams to megavoltage X-ray beams.
The program, which runs over the next six months, is also receiving support from the Skolkovo Foundation, a not-for-profit, government-funded organization that was launched in 2010 as part of the Kremlin's efforts to create an innovation ecosystem that is intended as Russia's answer to Silicon Valley.
Varian will assess R&D proposals with the Skolkovo Foundation,and the Rusnano Foundation for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (FIEP), which develops and supports Russia's integration with global leaders.
"Varian is the international leader in radiotherapy with centers of excellence all over the world," says Dow Wilson, chief executive officer of Varian. "With this innovative program we are engaging the strengths of the Russian R&D community that can be brought to this network for the benefit of cancer patients everywhere." Varian in Russian Federation More than 30 Varian medical linear accelerators are installed in Russian cancer clinics and the company currently supplies up to 20 new treatment systems each year to radiotherapy departments in the country.