Published, Spring 2006
This column highlights companies in the business of providing
solutions to social and environmental challenges. Featured companies
are typically held in the Small Cap portfolios offered to Walden
Having two X chromosomes means living with the hope
that “breast cancer” or “cervical cancer” are two diagnoses
you never receive. It also means potentially
undergoing any of the many medical procedures, such as hysterectomy,
that uniquely apply to women. Cytyc Corporation
recognized this nearly 20 years ago and has been striving to
meet the distinct healthcare needs of women ever since.
Cytyc’s signature and revolutionary product is the
ThinPrep® Pap Test. Launched in 1996, the ThinPrep Test
marked the first significant improvement to the Pap smear in
over 50 years. Pap tests are recommended for all women beginning
at age 18 or at the onset of sexual activity, if earlier. Pap
tests are generally performed annually to screen for malignant
and pre-malignant changes of the cervix. Cervical cancer, one of
the most prevalent cancers in the world, is nearly 100 percent
preventable if detected in the precancerous stage. The superior
slide quality associated with the ThinPrep Test has led to more
accurate diagnosis of precancerous lesions and cervical cancer.
Cytyc has become the “gold standard” in the liquid-based Pap test market with 70
percent market share in the United States and a growing international presence.
Cytyc’s product offering also includes the NovaSure®
System, an innovative endometrial ablation system used to treat
menorrhagia (i.e., excessive menstrual bleeding). Endometrial
ablation is an outpatient surgical procedure that destroys the
uterine lining to eliminate bleeding from the uterus. Cytyc’s
procedure can be completed in about seven minutes. Cytyc estimates
that one in five women suffer from menorrhagia, an
often painful condition associated with limited mobility and
thus a poor quality of life. Until 2001, women were limited to
two treatment options: hysterectomy (which was often unnecessarily
invasive) or drug therapy (which was often ineffective).
The introduction of the NovaSure® System in 2001 gave
women a welcome alternative.
Cytyc also recently acquired Proxima Therapeutics, whose
product suite includes the MammoSite® Radiation Therapy
System (RTS), a novel single-use device for the treatment of
breast cancer. By focusing radiation directly on the postlumpectomy
site, MammoSite RTS reportedly reduces treatment
time to 5 days from the 30 to 35 days for traditional
whole breast external beam radiation.
Cytyc is dedicated to furthering women’s health, and is
committed to collaboration and continuous investment in
research and development. To date, its innovative products have
dramatically succeeded in improving both preventative care for
women and their ongoing treatment.