- Micro-X (MX1) has officially scrapped its collaboration deal with France-based Thales AVS and will now insource its own X-ray tubes for the Australian Department of Defence
- The X-ray tech specialist is developing an improvised explosive device (IED) camera — an unmanned device designed to image homemade bombs
- Micro-X and Thales struck a six-year, $10 million collaboration deal in April 2019 to work together on products like the IED X-ray camera
- Today, however, the deal has officially been called off as the companies “follow different technical paths”, according to Micro-X
- Micro-X will now develop its own X-ray tubes for a lighter and smaller model of the IED imaging tech
- The company will develop the tubes from its own facility in Tonsley, South Australia
- First sales of the device are currently slated for 2022
- Shares in Micro-X closed 7.25 per cent higher this afternoon at 37 cents each
Micro-X (MX1) has officially scrapped its collaboration deal with France-based Thales AVS and will now insource its own X-ray tubes for the Australian Department of Defence (DoD).
The X-ray tech specialist is busy developing an improvised explosive device (IED) imaging product, first conceived under a contract with the DoD. IEDs typically refer to homemade bombs and other unconventional explosive weapons.
Micro-X and Thales struck a six-year, $10 million collaboration deal in April 2019 to work on products like the IED X-ray camera together. However, Micro-X flagged an early termination of this deal in February as it launched a $30.5 million placement to support insourcing its development and infrastructure.
Today, Micro-X and Thales’ collaboration has officially come to an end as the companies “follow different technical paths”, according to Micro-X.
Micro-X will repay a $5 million convertible loan to Thales as per the terms of their settlement agreement.
IED camera developments
Micro-X’s IED X-ray tech is a lightweight, unmanned, stand-off device designed to image homemade bomb threats.
The company said it has recently made some important changes to the tech, including designing a smaller, lighter product better-suited to explosive ordinance disposal.
While this new version of the tech is expected to simplify and de-risk overall product development, one of the issues with the new model is that it makes the development of the X-ray tube far more complex — perhaps explaining why Thales bailed on the collaboration deal.
As such, Micro-X will be designing and producing its own new tubes from a facility in Tonsley, South Australia.
At the same time, the company has appointed Shaun Graham as a new manager for the IED product line to start ramping up sales and marketing for the device.
Micro-X is expecting to be ready for customer imaging demonstrations before the end of 2021, with first sales of the IED product slated for 2022.
“The benefits of in-sourcing our core technology were well demonstrated during 2020 with the disruptions experienced in the global supply chain,” Micro-X Managing Director Peter Rowland said.
He added that developing the X-ray tubes in-house will help drive down costs for the company and produce more local jobs for South Australia.
“We are thrilled to further extend South Australia’s manufacturing industry capability and to continue to develop the skills and technology to compete on the world stage,” Peter said.
Micro-X said it is well-funded to move forward with the IED development, with $42.8 million in the bank prior to the $5 million payment to Thales.
Shares in Micro-X closed 7.25 per cent higher this afternoon at 37 cents each. The company has a $170 million market cap.