Siemens Healthineers is a unique investment case, said CEO Bernd Montag on a recent analyst call. The global medtech company operates in markets that are structurally growing and those that benefit from several secular growth trends, he said.
“With our leading portfolio and consistent rollout of innovative solutions, we are convinced we will continue our path of outperforming our markets. The advanced ways of treating the most threatening diseases in cardio, cancer, and neural products and solutions enable next level medicine,” said Montag. “The next-level medicine such as pharma and device innovations often drive our procedure growth.” Table 1 details the company’s strategy for growth.
Events in the past couple of years, including COVID-19, have also presented their customers with additional challenges such as staff shortages and inflation.
“Our technologies are key to helping improve productivity. This may be with our AI- and tech-enabled services or with our generations of equipment that are faster and more automated than ever. Furthermore, we generate growth by consistently expanding our markets with new solutions and in a value-adding fashion via M&A.”
These drivers, he said, guarantee strong, consistent growth. This growth, and additional revenue, comes with a high degree of resilience.
“About 55 percent of our revenues are recurring,” Montag said. “Partnerships are a very fast-growing part of our business and make us even more resilient as they guarantee a reliable recurring flow of revenues for years to come.” He said that agreements with Atrium Health and Unilabs are proof that these kinds of partnerships and long-term deals will continue to be an important source of growth. The company’s geographical diversification has proven to be an important resilience factor, he said, noting that the company’s resilient growth prospects are paired with market-leading profitability levels.
“We have sector-leading margins in imaging and at Varian with further room for expansion,” said Montag. “At the same time, we have a clear road map to generate significant margin accretion at diagnostics and advanced therapies in the medium term.”
“In the five years since listing as a publicly traded company, we’ve become the strategic partner of many of the world’s largest and most important healthcare providers,” Montag said at the company’s shareholder meeting in February. “The merger with Varian in April 2021 has broadened even further Siemens Healthineers’ importance as a company with high aspirations: ‘We pioneer breakthroughs in healthcare. For everyone. Everywhere.’”
With the company’s purpose defined this way, Montag said, the company launched a new chapter of its Strategy 2025 under the banner heading “New Ambition.”
“In concrete terms, we intend to achieve comparable annual revenue growth of between six and eight percent. By 2025, adjusted basic earnings per share are set to increase annually by between 12 and 15 percent.”
Siemens Healthineers geared three capabilities to address these factors:
Patient twinning is the personalized, increasingly precise and holistic description of each patient;
Precision therapy provides personalized, highly effective treatment; and
Digitalization, data and artificial intelligence (AI) are the technological bridges linking patient twinning and precision therapy.
The relevance of these capabilities is illustrated by four product examples:
NAEOTOM Alpha computed tomography scanner delivers the most detailed representation of the human anatomy.
HyperSight integrates clinical imaging into radiation therapy systems at a resolution similar to CT scanners.
MAGNETOM Terra.X marks the state of the art in clinical 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging, enabling physicians to precisely visualize even finer structures in the human body.
Recent value partnerships in the United States, Spain, the Philippines, Finland, and other countries have increased the company’s order backlog in this segment to about €4 billion ($4.39 billion).
Through digitalization and AI, Siemens Healthineers’ goal is to improve quality of care for individuals and furthers efficiencies within the healthcare delivery system. The company focuses on three key technologies: digital twin, smart-sensing technology, and robotics. The NAEOTOM Alpha, for example, is the world’s first CT scanner equipped with a photon-counting sensor. Photon-counting CT has the potential to advance medical diagnostics toward precise, noninvasive diagnosis in cardiology, pulmonology, oncology, and emergency medicine.
The NAEOTOM Alpha has introduced a combination of dual-source and a photon-counting detector: Dual-source temporal resolution allows it to scan patients at any heart rate. The addition of the photon-counting detector allows for spectral information and high resolution. Bringing spectral imaging to the vessels enables clinicians to peek behind the curtain of calcium.
These improvements include an increase in resolution and a reduction in radiation dose by up to 45 percent for ultra-high-resolution (UHR) scans compared with conventional CT detectors with a UHR comb filter. This would be impossible with conventional detectors. Photon-counting scans contain more usable data, because photon-counting technology directly detects each x-ray photon and its energy level instead of first converting it into visible light as with conventional CT imaging.
At the Siemens Healthineers Shape 23 press conference keynote presentation, the company introduced its two latest magnetic resonance tomographs designed for clinical and scientific use: the MAGNETOM Cima.X2 with 3T field strength and the MAGNETOM Terra. X1 with 7T. These two products merit mention because of the advances they bring to the world of imaging.
“Due to their high field strengths and strong gradient performance, both scanners will be optimal for detecting the finest structures in the body more clearly. By introducing AI-based algorithms on these high-end scanners for the first time, we reduce the scanning time in MRI by up to 50 percent, while improving image quality,” said Arthur Kaindl, head of magnetic resonance imaging at Siemens Healthineers.
In 2019, Siemens Healthineers introduced another AI-based product. These two software assistants based on AI are designed to free radiologists from the burden of performing routine activities during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations in the body regions brain and prostate.
The AI-Rad Companion Brain MR for Morphometry Analysis automatically segments the brain in MRI images, measures brain volume, and marks volume deviations in result tables used by neurologists for diagnosis and treatment. AI-Rad Companion Prostate MR for Biopsy Support automatically segments the outer contour of the prostate on MRI images and enables radiologists to mark lesions, so that it’s easier for their colleagues in urology to perform targeted prostate biopsies. Both applications can be used on MRI scanners from different manufacturers and are available on teamplay, Siemens Healthineers’ cloud-based healthcare platform.
“With the new AI-based assistants, we are expanding our diagnostic offering to help our customers increase efficiency and improve the quality of care. We firmly believe that AI will help physicians deal with their workload and benefit patients by helping achieve an improved, patient-focused decision-making process,” said Peter Koerte, head of digital health at Siemens Healthineers. “We demonstrated this when we introduced the first application of the AI-Rad Companion focusing on CT for the chest body region.”
The company’s new angiography system, Artis icono ceiling for precise tumor embolization, aids in early diagnosis and treatment. It provides three-dimensional (3D) data acquisitions both at the patient’s head and from the patient’s side over a complete angular range of 200 degrees. This is particularly important in interventional radiology since 3D imaging from the side plays an important role in tumor and prostate embolization.
The ceiling-mounted Artis combines mechanical flexibility with high positioning accuracy and intelligent workflows. 3D images can be acquired in as little as two-and-a-half seconds, thereby reducing motion artifacts.
Thanks to the system’s high positioning accuracy, the vascular tree needs to be visualized only once for image-guided catheter navigation, which may lead to the need for reduced contrast agent and dose. Intelligent image guidance tools also support users in anatomical navigation and software-supported identification of tumor-feeding vessels.
As part of its sustainability goals through 2025, Siemens Healthineers also notes that AI-based solutions generate valuable patient insights and allow for more targeted and personalized patient interventions. AI is an important tool for lowering cost of care through standardization and automation and is essential for enabling access to high-quality care in remote and underserved regions.
New Corporate Mission
Siemens Healthineers formulated a new corporate mission and purpose soon after closing its merger with Varian, marking the start of the third phase of implementing the its Strategy 2025, said Ralf P. Thomas, chairman of the supervisory board, at the company’s shareholder’s meeting in February.
“Dubbed ‘New Ambition,’ the goal of this third phase is to firmly establish a higher and sustainably attractive level of growth and earnings for Siemens Healthineers by pursuing three strategic growth vectors,” Thomas said.
Those growth vectors include fighting the most threatening non-communicable diseases such as cancer, strokes, and heart attacks, for example; enabling efficient operations in hospitals; and expanding access to modern medical care in countries with low or middle incomes, which he said today is around 3 billion people.