Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saint-Petersburg, Russia - Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG, AEX:PHI) today announced that it has embarked on a five-year joint research and development program with the Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University, the Vavilov State Optical Institute and the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute in the field of medical imaging technologies. Philips will be investing up to EUR 2.5 million in the program, comprising direct funding and ‘in-kind’ support, including research staff.
The joint R&D program will focus on the development of so-called scintillation materials to improve the sensitivity of the detectors used in CT, PET and SPECT* scanners. Such scanners are typically used in the diagnosis of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Improved detector sensitivity can ultimately be translated into shorter scan times, lower radiation doses for the patient, or enhanced image quality, depending on the application. In addition, the researchers will develop new computer algorithms for more efficient image reconstruction and processing.
The three Russian research institutes involved are all leaders in the field of scintillation materials research, and optical material production and characterization, both in Russia and on a global level. The Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University will serve as the central hub in the joint R&D program and support in coordinating the research. It will connect the spokes as represented by the Vavilov State Optical Institute, the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute, and Philips’ research laboratories in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Hamburg (Germany) and Paris (France).
“This ambitious joint R&D program is in line with our policy of open innovation to team up with partners that possess complementary strengths,” says Frans van Houten, CEO of Philips. “As a leading global player in medical imaging systems, Philips will be able to tap into Russia’s scientific expertise, as well as its development and industrialization capabilities, via the three St. Petersburg-based research institutes. At the same time, I am convinced that our collaborations can catalyze growth in the Russian medical imaging industry.”
“The launch of the joint R&D program in medical imaging gives an added impetus to Russian activities in this field. It is a unique opportunity for Russia’s scientific community and the universities involved to directly interact with one of the industry leaders in medical imaging,” adds Andrei Rudskoy, President of the Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “It will also allow us to make the important step from theoretical and experimental research to advanced equipment production. The collaboration has the potential to formulate and solve the technological challenges associated with improving existing scintillation materials, detectors, image processing and reconstruction technologies, ultimately moving us towards an entirely new level in the medical equipment industry”.
Recognizing that advanced R&D programs are vital to nurturing and growing any industry ecosystem, the newly established joint R&D program will feed directly into Russia’s emerging medical equipment industry. It underlines Philips’ commitment to collaborate with Russian partners that are leaders in specific domains in order to help modernize medical facilities in hospitals in Russia. Other examples include Philips’ previous agreements with Russian companies to manufacture affordable imaging systems in Russia and the company’s collaborations with Russian institutes in medical and clinical research.
* CT: Computed Tomography; PET: Positron Emission Tomography; SPECT: Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography