Operating area

Business Innovation

Business Innovation includes the Orthopaedics and Medical Education business units as well as Sectra’s research department. Business Innovation also manages and develops Sectra’s patent portfolio.

Quick facts

Figures refers to fiscal year 2020/2021.

  • 37 emplyees
  • SEK 55.8 million in revenue

Customers

The Orthopaedics business unit is aimed at private and public orthopaedic clinics as well as suppliers of prosthetics and implants. The operations in Medical Education focus on educational institutions and hospitals offering basic and specialist medical or veterinary studies, either privately or publicly.

Sales channels

Sales take place through an in-house sales organization and distribution partners in Orthopaedics as well as through an international network of distribution partners in Medical education. The business units’ solutions are also sold as part of Sectra Imaging IT Solutions’ customer offerings.

The Group incubator

Business Innovation is the Group’s primary incubator for future product areas. This is where we evaluate and capitalize on opportunities to commercialize new technologies and new segments that are not currently part of the Group’s core areas. The unit also includes new products and services that are not a natural match with the existing operating areas—for example, if the products in question are intended for users in other customer segments. The long-term goals are:

  • Contribute to better care for patients by solving difficult and important problems encountered by Sectra’s customers.
  • Validate clinical benefits or pursue projects that could lead to new and innovative solutions that add value for customers in Sectra’s niche areas, thereby offering significant international business potential.
  • Build and manage a strong patent portfolio in Sectra’s key areas.
  • Develop business models for new products and services.

Sound scientific and medical evidence is essential in healthcare. Implementing new technologies and methods is often a protracted process and associated with high risk. As a result, some research and other early-phase projects will never grow to any major degree. In the long term, the business units within Business Innovation are to be managed in one of the following ways:

  • Integrate the unit into an existing operating area. This occurred, for example, when digital pathology was transferred to Imaging IT Solutions in 2014, due to the major synergies identified.
  • Spin off as an independent company or be sold to an external party if this proves to be the best solution from a financial standpoint. This occurred, for example, with the business unit for low-dose mammography products, which was divested in 2011. Sectra also sold a number of patents in 2015.
  • Discontinue if the unit does not offer sufficient potential. This occurred, for example, with the osteoporosis business unit in 2017/2018.

In Business Innovation, there are currently only medical technology projects, but this may be expanded to include projects in other areas in the future. In certain cases, the projects are already profitable business units with existing customers that need to grow further, however, before becoming an independent operating area.

Business units

Safer surgery using digital planning

The number of joint replacement surgeries is expected to increase sharply due to an aging population worldwide and is a major global healthcare challenge. To meet the growing need for better, more efficient care, Sectra offers IT systems for image-based planning and follow-up of orthopaedic surgery— for example, hip, knee, spine and trauma surgery. Using 2D and 3D medical images, measurement tools and a library of more than 90.000 implant templates and click guides, orthopaedic surgeons can diagnose and plan with greater accuracy.

For hospitals, increased precision during planning leads to reduced costs, since the operating time is shortened and the number of implants to be prepared before every surgery is reduced. For the patient, more efficient planning and shorter operating times reduce the risk of post-operative infections and other complications. Our offering also includes tools for radiologists who specialize in the musculoskeletal system. The ability for orthopaedic surgeons and radiologists to work together in the same system can lead to major time savings.

Sectra’s offering in orthopaedics has included Sectra Implant Movement Analysis (IMA)—a service for postoperative follow- up—for a few years now.  The service helps orthopaedic surgeons determine if the pain experienced by some patients after an implant surgery is caused by a loose implant. This means that unnecessary and risky surgery can be avoided if it turns out the implant has not come loose. Furthermore, our solutions also contribute to simplifying and streamlining the proof-of-concept process for new implants using the Sectra CTMA measurement method, which facilitates the measurement of movements between implants and bones using computer tomography.

Clinical studies are a part of the business unit’s growth strategy. To disseminate knowledge and collect evidence for products and services, the work on initiating new studies has continued. During 2020/2021, four new studies were published, and an additional 16 were initiated.

Sectra is currently the market leader in preoperative planning in Scandinavia and commands a strong market position in several other countries, including the Netherlands and the UK. During 2020/2021, new customers were added in Germany, Switzerland and the US in conjunction with procuring Sectra’s enterprise imaging solution for managing medical images.

The way forward

The business unit’s ambition is to contribute to improved orthopaedic preoperative planning and reduce the amount of time spent in the operating room through the development and sale of software and cloud-based services for planning and follow-up. This will be achieved by:

  • Growing primarily in Europe and North America and in countries where the business unit has its own sales organization.
  • Focusing on sales in the joint replacement surgery (hip, knee and shoulder) and trauma surgery segments through direct sales and in cooperation with implant manufacturers.
  • Introducing and establishing the service for postoperative follow-up and the method for validating new implants in clinical studies on new markets, for example in the US.

Cloud-based training platforms for reality-based learning

There is great need for training more doctors and nurses, which puts demands on modern training systems. By interacting with medical images from actual patient cases, students and resident physicians gain a better understanding of anatomy, bodily functions and variations, and better knowledge about different cases. We offer the Sectra Education Portal, a cloud-based education portal that provides users with access to a large digital library of quality-assured medical cases and images. There is also the possibility of using own cases and sharing them with other portal users. We also offer training terminals—Sectra’s visualization table, for example—that are adapted to training in the classroom or lecture hall. During the last few years, we have moved from only supplying visualization devices for a one-time fee to primarily selling cloud services with a subscription model and a major focus on content.

Sectra’s medical education solutions are currently available for healthcare personnel, medical training programs and veterinarians at roughly 400 educational institutions and hospitals in some 50 countries. Sales mainly take place through an international network of distribution partners.

The way forward

For more students to be able to make use of reality-based learning and thus increase the clinical focus on medical education, the business unit’s focus is on:

  • Growing in key markets in which we are already established, such as Europe and the Americas.
  • Continuing to increase the utilization rate among existing customers, thereby boosting recurring sales.
  • Further developing the education portal and expanding the digital library to include new medical cases and images.

Innovation for sustainable growth

Sectra’s research department conducts and participates in projects to produce clinical evidence for existing technology as well as to create new products—all in an effort to boost the company’s long-term business value. Eight researchers work in the department, three of whom divide their time between Sectra and Linköping University. Sectra is currently involved in approximately ten research projects, including projects in the fields of orthopaedic surgery and digital pathology, where previous projects have resulted in expansions and improvements to our product offering.

Major focus on AI in ongoing research projects

AI is an underlying theme in much of the research department’s work. Sectra is contributing research in diagnostic imaging so that AI can move from the laboratory to providing real value in clinical practice. Our researchers are working on solutions that combine AI and visualization, focusing on how physicians control and adjust computer results. Sectra is one of the main participants in the Vinnova-funded project AIDA, which serves as a national arena for research into AI for medical image analysis, with the aim of leveraging the full benefits of AI-based tools in the healthcare sector. We are also cooperating with Visual Sweden, a local initiative that is on the way to becoming a world-leading hub for innovation in image analysis and visualization, with close cooperation between industry, academia and the healthcare sector.

Sectra is also participating in the largescale Swedish AI initiative WASP (Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program). During the year, our researchers contributed to important advances in simplifying the process of training AI using enormous data volumes, something that is particularly useful in pathology. On the same theme, a long-term EU project named BIGPICTURE was started under the Innovative Medicines Initiative during the year, with the aim of developing the largest ever database of pathology images. Sectra’s contribution will accelerate the development of improved diagnostic methods based on AI and support collaborative efforts between healthcare and research.

Management

Gustaf Schwang

General Manager Business unit Orthopaedics

Johan Carlegrim

General Manager Business unit Medical Education

Claes Lundström

Research Director Medical systems