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Hologic Rival Cites Abuse in $4 Billion Breast-Screening Sector

  • Fujifilm claims ‘sham’ trade case used to thwart competition
  • Companies are fighting over 3D-capable mammography systems

Hologic Inc.’s control of the market for 3D breast imaging in cancer screening is based on misuse of its patents and litigation, Fujifilm Holdings Corp. said in a lawsuit accusing its bigger rival of antitrust violations.

The global mammography market is projected to be almost $4 billion by 2025, with 3D systems taking a growing share, according to a January 2017 report by Grand View Research. Hologic has 81 percent of the 3D-imaging sector, but faces a challenge from Tokyo-based Fujifilm, which received Food and Drug Administration approval in January 2017 to sell its 3D mammography system.

Fujifilm filed a lawsuit March 2 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, which also accuses Hologic of infringing four patents for capturing and processing 3D images of breast tissue. The company is seeking lost profits or a reasonable royalty and a court order blocking Hologic from further infringement.

Jane G. Mazur, a spokeswoman for the Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Hologic, declined to comment.

‘Sham Litigation’

Hologic has used "sham litigation" in an attempt to block it from importing its products to the U.S., Fujifilm says. In June 2017, Hologic filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, a move Fujifilm says was motivated by Hologic’s desire to impose an "anticompetitive injury."

Fujifilm says its patented inventions are used in Hologic’s Selenia Dimensions mammography systems, which have an average price of $451,653. Fujifilm’s competing products include the ASPIRE Cristalle systems. The 3D-capable version’s average price, the complaint says, is about half that of Hologic’s competing products.

Hologic said it pioneered the 3D mammography market in 2011. At an investors’ conference Monday, Michael Watts, Hologic’s vice president of investor relations, called it "revolutionary technology" that enabled the company to become a market leader "against some pretty large competitors."

Fujifilm and Hologic met with a mediator on Feb. 13, but couldn’t reach an agreement to resolve their ITC dispute though they told the trade judge they were "open to continuing discussions." The trial in the ITC case is scheduled to begin in April.

Hologic’s breast-health unit, which includes its 3D mammography systems, had sales of $1.14 billion in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2017, or 37 percent of overall revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The case is Fujifilm Corporation v. Hologic Inc., 18-cv-343, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

— With assistance by Susan Decker

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