IntraLase Launches 4th Generation Laser as Blade-Free Lasik Gains Momentum with LASIK Luminaries
|52 % of Renowned Surgeons and 17 Leading Ophthalmic Teaching Institutions Use the IntraLase(R) FS Laser: the Ultra-Fast Laser That Makes Blade-Free LASIK Possible|
“The ability to perform a blade-free LASIK procedure is a big benefit to the ophthalmic practice in that the IntraLase technology instills confidence in both the surgeon and the patient. There is no question that it is emerging as the technology of choice in LASIK care”
IntraLase Corp. today announced that with the introduction of its 4th Generation FS Laser, a system that allows for a 100 percent blade-free LASIK procedure, it is solidifying its position as the technology of choice among the nation's top LASIK surgeons and ophthalmic teaching institutions. The new IntraLase FS Laser is twice as fast as its predecessor and will be unveiled at this week's American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) annual meeting (March 18-22) at the Mosconi Center (Booth 226).
As the launch of the new laser takes place, IntraLase reflects on a year of milestone achievement with many of the industry's major indicators pointing to the IntraLase Method(TM) as the emerging standard of care in LASIK surgery. With record sales of 156 IntraLase FS Lasers worldwide and an impressive 338,000 blade-free LASIK procedures sold last year, the company saw a remarkable increase in market share penetration in 2005. Approximately 25 percent of all LASIK procedures performed in the U.S. incorporated the advanced IntraLase Method - an increase of 56 percent over 2004.
LASIK Industry Leaders Champion IntraLase Method as Gold Standard
The safety and superior outcomes of the IntraLase FS Laser continue to win over leading LASIK surgeons and ophthalmic teaching institutes across the country. Approximately 52 percent of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today's 50 Most Influential Ophthalmologists and 17 leading teaching institutions have adopted LASIK with the advanced IntraLase Method as their technology of choice, including the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at University of Miami, and Stanford University. Duke University is the 18th and most recent ophthalmic teaching institution to acquire an IntraLase FS Laser. "At Duke University, we provide our residents and fellows in training, who we consider to be the next generation of leaders in our field, the most advanced environment for learning technological advances in refractive surgery," stated Alan N. Carlson, M.D., chief of the corneal and refractive surgery service at the Duke University Eye Center. "The IntraLase FS Laser has not only demonstrated its contribution to a better LASIK procedure, but also to advancing other corneal procedures. We believe that IntraLase will fuel future ophthalmic advancements and continue to benefit patients around the world."
"The ability to perform a blade-free LASIK procedure is a big benefit to the ophthalmic practice in that the IntraLase technology instills confidence in both the surgeon and the patient. There is no question that it is emerging as the technology of choice in LASIK care," said Roger F. Steinert, M.D., director of cornea, refractive and cataract surgery at the University of California at Irvine and president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. "Our students train with the IntraLase Method and I believe that the ophthalmic surgeons of the future will perform blade-free LASIK procedures exclusively."
Further evidence of the growing pervasiveness of the IntraLase Method is the recently announced agreement with TLCVision Corp. (NASDAQ:TLCV) (TSX:TLC), the largest provider of laser vision correction services in North America, which includes a laser commitment across all of their refractive service models over the next two years.
Technology Overcomes Tradition as IntraLase Reduces the LASIK Fear Factor
The risks associated with the hand-held microkeratome blade historically used to create the LASIK corneal flap have, quite naturally, instilled a certain amount of fear and hesitancy in potential patients. Replacing the blade with the IntraLase FS Laser virtually eliminates the majority of the most severe sight-threatening LASIK complications and, by creating an optimal corneal surface below the flap, provides for better visual outcomes - taking many patients to 20/20 vision and beyond.
"Even with all of the information available to consumers today about LASIK, patients continue to be surprised to learn that, traditionally, there is a blade involved in the procedure," said Daniel S. Durrie, M.D., of Durrie Vision in Overland Park, Kan. and clinical associate professor, ophthalmology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan. "Patients are so relieved to hear about the safety and results provided by the IntraLase Method; it is no wonder that 100 percent of the LASIK procedures I perform are blade free."
IntraLase's Innovation and Initiative Result in the 4th Generation FS Laser System
Doubling the speed of the first laser used to create LASIK's corneal flap reduces the flap procedure time to less than approximately 15 seconds while maintaining the procedure's excellent safety profile and visual outcomes. The power and precision of the 4th Generation FS Laser System enable the surgeon to create a tighter spot pattern that facilitates the lifting of the flap, and reduces the potential and/or severity of post-operative inflammation - all with the only patented technology that enables a 100 percent blade-free LASIK procedure.
"The 4th Generation FS Laser, which comes just 11 months after the introduction of our 30 kHz laser, demonstrates our commitment to the rapid development of our femtosecond technology," said Robert J. Palmisano, president and CEO of IntraLase. "Our commitment to innovation is focused on the fast delivery of the laser's benefits to surgeons and patients."
Beyond LASIK: IntraLase FS Laser Adapts For Use in Corneal Transplants and More
The IntraLase FS Laser is the first femtosecond laser cleared for use in a variety of refractive and corneal surgeries. In addition to LASIK, the IntraLase technology is used to create incisions for lamellar keratoplasty, penetrating keratoplasty, intrastromal ring implants and for the preparation of the donor tissue used in corneal transplants. The first corneal transplant cases using IntraLase's ultra-fast laser have been successfully performed in patients, marking the first major technology advancement in corneal transplant surgery in more than five years. Full global launch of this new therapeutic application is expected in Fall 2006.
"Throughout our clinical work using the IntraLase technology in advanced corneal transplants, we have been impressed by the laser's ability to create contoured full-thickness resections," said William W. Culbertson, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Laser Vision Center in Miami. "The precision and sophistication of this remarkable surgical tool makes it possible to create the desirable top hat configuration that, until now, represented a significant challenge for the surgeon. The versatility of this laser allows for further innovations and advanced configurations developed by ophthalmologists in the future."
About IntraLase Corp.
IntraLase designs, develops, and manufactures an ultra-fast laser that is revolutionizing refractive and corneal surgery by creating safe and more precise corneal incisions. Delivering on the promise of ophthalmic laser technology, the IntraLase FS Laser, related software, and disposable devices replace the hand-held microkeratome blade used during LASIK surgery. The accuracy of IntraLase's computer-controlled femtosecond laser has been shown to improve safety profiles and visual outcomes when used during LASIK. Additionally, the IntraLase FS Laser creates precision-designed intracorneal incisions that when combined can be used during lamellar and penetrating keratoplasties and intrastromal ring implantation. IntraLase is presently in the process of commercializing applications of its technology in the treatment of corneal diseases that require corneal transplant surgery. The company's proprietary laser and disposable patient interfaces are presently marketed throughout the United States and 26 other countries. IntraLase has headquarters in and manufactures its products in Irvine, Calif. For additional information, visit the company's Web site: www.intralase.com.
Statements contained in this press release that are not historical information are forward-looking statements as defined within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "estimate," "project," or words of similar meaning, or future or conditional verbs such as "will," "would," "should," "could," or "may." Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or implied. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the degree of continued acceptance of LASIK surgery; potential complications revealed by long-term follow up; the extent of adoption of our product offering by LASIK surgeons; general economic conditions; changes in federal tax laws governing the ability of potential LASIK patients to use pre-tax dollars to pay for LASIK surgery; the scope of government regulation applicable to our products; patients' willingness to pay for LASIK surgery; our ability to compete against our competitors; the effectiveness of our measures to ensure full payment of procedure fees; the occurrence and outcome of product liability suits against us; our ability to adequately protect our intellectual property; whether we become subject to claims of infringement or misappropriation of the intellectual property rights of others; the continued availability of supplies from single-source suppliers and manufacturers of our key laser components; the ability of our managers, operations, and facilities to manage our growth; the success of our expansion into markets outside the United States; whether we lose any of our key executives or fail to attract qualified personnel; or if our new products or applications fail to become commercially viable.
Certain of these risks and uncertainties, in addition to other risks, are more fully described in the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the period ending Dec. 31, 2005, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 3, 2006.
These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this press release, and the company assumes no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.