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Biotech Offers Revolutionary Technology

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted May 23, 2013

The biotech industry has been enjoying somewhat of a golden age as of late, with positive news popping up consistently. Now there’s something especially revolutionary to be excited about.

Enter Given Imaging Ltd.’s (NASDAQ: GIVN) PillCam Colon, a state-of-the-art pill-sized camera aimed to provide imaging that can help to screen for colon cancer.

pillcam colonWith the minuscule camera, physicians can gain the equivalent amount of information they might get from a colonoscopy. The company’s CEO, Homi Shamir, is especially positive about the product, stating, “The PillCam Colon’s potential is enormous,” according to Bloomberg.

The company is aiming to gain approval from the FDA in order to market its product on a mass scale in the U.S. “The data we presented will help us get regulatory approval by the end of the third quarter, the beginning of the fourth quarter,” said Shamir.

Once U.S. approval is gained, the product could feasibly hit the market soon after and become introduced into hospitals worldwide.

The PillCam Colon doesn’t come without a price, however. According to Shamir, each capsule will cost approximately $500. Given the fact that colonoscopies can cost up to $1,200 or more, however, the price of the Pillcam Colon doesn’t seem especially out of line.

An Industry-Changing Product

It’d be hard to argue that the PillCam Colon isn’t a modern marvel, combining science, research, and technology in ways that have never truly been done before. The device could – for all intents and purposes – replace the colonoscopy, especially if it proves to be as successful with widespread use as it has been in trials. This is a device that not only offers a far less invasive procedure than a colonoscopy but can also help to save nearly $1,000 in some cases.

Doctors the world over are constantly looking for ways to screen for pre-cancerous tumors quickly and efficiently, and the technology that birthed PillCam Colon may be able to extend itself to other parts of the medical realm.

With a technology so advanced and altogether flexible given its size, there’s no telling what impact this could have on the medical community. It’s clear now that a pill-sized camera has the potential to screen for colon cancer, but this may only be scratching the surface of what it can really do.

It’s not time to prepare for the boom of the century just yet, however. Even if the PillCam Colon is to gain FDA approval this year, the chances that it would be picked up by doctors in an extremely rapid period of time are somewhat slim.

New medical devices such as the PillCam Colon tend to take a fair amount of time to fully integrate into modern medicine, especially if the technology has never truly been utilized before. It could happen in a period of months, but it could also take years for momentum to build.

Investing in Biotech

For investors, there are few things more worth focusing on at the moment than biotech. Given Imaging’s success story (in terms of its invention, at the very least) is one of many, as the biotech industry continues to soar.

Each year, approximately 143,000 cases of rectal and colon cancer are diagnosed. As people become more and more educated about the perils of these diseases, many are taking pre-emptive steps in order to ensure they themselves are not at any great risk.

There will always be a need for colon cancer screenings, so it should stand to reason that the same thing could possibly said for PillCam Colon in the future. 

As more positive news pours out, stocks in biotech and companies such as Given Imagining in particular are sure to rise slowly but steadily. It’s not hard to have a lot of faith in the biotech industry, especially given its recent track record.

Technology such as that of the PillCam Colon will not catch on exceptionally easy, however, as many doctors will likely remain leery for at least a short period of time. Once it does catch on, though, the medical community will be in store for a major breakthrough – one that could happen as soon as this year.


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