InvestXmedia Group Inc.

August 08, 2013 10:30 ET

Investors Pile in as Vancouver's Zecotek Crystallizes Deal With Japanese Heavyweight

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Aug. 8, 2013) - For Vancouver technology company Zecotek (TSX VENTURE:ZMS), which was formed in 2004, the baby bird is about to leave the nest.

The company, which has amassed an impressive stockpile of intellectual property, is now in the early stages of commercializing its medical imaging technologies. Zecotek has never been the easiest company to understand. But like that Straight-A foreign exchange student, it was always intriguing despite what might have been lost in translation.

These days, however, Zecotek seems to have a clear and simple focus, and investors are beginning to pile in, sending shares of the company to nearly double what they were going for in April.

Many are now focusing on an aspect that has a recent and positively electric track record of generating profits for investors; the monetization of intellectual property portfolios.

After spending more than $25-million developing its various technologies, Zecotek now has 50 patents.

The homegrown company has an increasingly international profile. Zecotek recently designed a positron emission tomography (PET) medical scanning device configuration aimed at BRIC nations, including the potentially lucrative Indian and Chinese markets.

But it's the company's patents that are the action item many investors have clued in on of late. Its lawsuit against giants Philips and St. Gobain have brought unprecedented attention to Zecotek.

In 2006, Zecotek was granted U.S. patent No. 7,132,060, which covers the substances and chemical formulations used to grow lutetium fine silicate scintillation or LFS crystals.

Zecotek alleges that Saint-Gobain's LYSO crystals infringe Zecotek's patent, and that Philips infringes by using those crystals in the PET scanner devices it currently sells. The lawsuit kicked off with a "Markman Hearing" last month before a judge in Akron Ohio.

A "Markman Hearing" aims to determine the use of relevant key words in a patent claim. The procedure has become commonplace in the U.S. Supreme Court since the 1996 case of Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., found that the language of a patent is a matter of law for a judge, not a jury, to decide.

While it is clear that many companies with impending Markman Hearings will not, ultimately, be successful in their larger actions, these Claim Construction Hearings have, in fact, created a lot of shareholder value of late. That's because plaintiffs who are successful in these actions have an 80% chance of trial success, noted Ladenburg Thalmann analyst Jon R. Hickman recently.

While the lawsuit is a big deal, and will grab headlines regardless of the outcome, Zecotek is also finding that some industry heavyweights would rather just make deals out of court.

Recently, the company announced a partnership agreement with Japan's Hamamatsu Photonics, the world's leading supplier of PET scanner components to the biomedical industry, the news was soon followed by an initial order for $500,000 of lutetium fine silicate scintillation crystals.

Hamamatsu is also the world's leading supplier of optoelectronics components including photo multiplier tubes and photo-diodes used in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) projects and other industrial and scientific applications.

Zecotek CEO Faouzi Zerrouk, an English educated PhD in Theoretical Physics, who has became a leading expert in photonics technologies, says that deal is the first step in Zecotek becoming a viable player in a global diagnostic imaging market that is expected to grow to $26.6 billion by 2016.

"Hamamatsu has made an immediate contribution to our strategic alliance," he said. "This initial order underlines the significance of the strategic partnership and co-operation between Zecotek and Hamamatsu. We have always believed in the cost/performance superiority of Zecotek LFS crystals."

It has, however, been a challenge penetrating the large-scale imaging markets. Hamamatsu's partnership removes barriers and opens imaging industry opportunities for Zecotek products.

"We look forward to growing the partnership as we move ahead to capture a substantial share of the imaging markets."

"We are very pleased to join forces and provide added value to Zecotek's imaging technologies," said Koei Yamamoto General Managing Director, Hamamatsu Photonics.

"We will use our well established R&D, technological and manufacturing expertise to strengthen Zecotek's existing technological results and products. We believe this to be a powerful and symbiotic relationship."

To see a video presentation on Zecotek please go to http://www.theprovince.com/zecotek.

This content is researched and written by InvestX Media Group. It is not to be considered as individualised investment advice. To be featured on The Province Focus pages please go to http://www.theprovince/focus.

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