June 26, 2006 - Yokneam, Israel
Lumenis® Ltd., a global developer, manufacturer and seller of laser and light-based devices for medical, aesthetic, ophthalmic, dental and veterinary applications, announced today that it has received exclusive worldwide licensing rights for SRT™, a new laser therapy for selectively treating retinal diseases. These rights include licenses issued to Lumenis by Medizinisches Laserzentrum Lübeck GmbH, Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor Reginald Birngruber.
Lasers in Ophthalmology have had a significant impact on sight preservation in patients affected by eye diseases. Conventional laser treatments, although effective in slowing down the progression of disease, seldom restore or improve visual acuity in the area treated due to the non-discriminating nature of the laser burn. In contrast, SRT is a novel technology that selectively targets and confines the treatment to specific cells (the retina pigment epithelium) at the back of the retina. Since there is little heat generated, the surrounding photoreceptors are left undamaged and their normal function is sustained. Therefore, SRT represents a paradigm shift for retinal laser treatments with the potential to enhance sight preservation for patients affected by several retinal diseases.
Avner Raz, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Lumenis continues to lead the medical technology industry towards efficacious laser treatments. Such is the case with SRT. Based on our company’s 40-year history of ophthalmic laser innovation we are uniquely qualified to develop and produce SRT for global distribution. The potential application for this new technology, namely diabetes and age-related macular degeneration, is massive and growing. According to industry experts, both conditions are leading causes of blindness with increasing significance as the global population grows and ages1,2,3. We believe SRT’s positive impact on ophthalmologists and their patients will signify a watershed event in the field of retinal laser treatment.”
According to Prof. Birngruber, Chairman of the Medizinisches Laserzentrum Lübeck (Germany) and Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School (USA), “The more challenging ophthalmic diseases are those that affect the retina and posterior pole. Treatable retinal conditions, such as Diabetic Retinopathy and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), currently rely primarily on other solutions. Laser photocoagulation is the accepted standard of care for Diabetic Retinopathy patients, while photodynamic therapy is the current standard for treating AMD patients. Although both of these laser treatments reduce disease progression, they seldom restore or improve visual acuity. SRT, on the other hand, has the potential of doing both. This is truly a breakthrough for ophthalmology and sight preservation.”
Dr. Mark Latina, pioneer of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), further comments, "Our goal is to develop laser treatments that are not only more precise and effective at treating ocular diseases, but also kinder and gentler. SRT and its method of action are similar to the highly effective SLT for management of primary open-angle glaucoma."
“SRT is a great concept which has certain technical challenges. At Wellman Center for Photomedicine we are developing a treatment feedback system for this laser technology to realize its full clinical potential,” stated Dr. Charles Lin, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.
About SRT Clinical Studies
Lumenis has also entered into separate research agreements with Professor Birngruber at Medizinisches Laserzentrum Lübeck GmbH (MLL) and Dr. Mark Latina at Massachusetts General Hospital, in addition to providing a grant to Dr. Charles Lin at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine (Massachusetts General Hospital), to advance the development of SRT. The Company has previously sponsored international multi-center studies to evaluate the efficacy of SRT in the treatment of Diabetic Maculopathy, a subset of Diabetic Retinopathy; Occult Choroidal Neovascularization, a form of wet AMD; and Central Serous Chorioretinopathy (CSCR). To date these preliminary clinical studies have demonstrated very promising results.
Lumenis is currently conducting research into laser system designs and plans to commence an expanded international multi-center clinical study later this year. The timing of the market introduction of a commercial product will be dependent upon current research activities and related long-term clinical studies.
Lumenis is a global developer, manufacturer and seller of laser and light-based devices for medical, aesthetic, ophthalmic, dental and veterinary applications. The Company offers a wide range of products along with extensive product support systems including training, education and service. Lumenis invests heavily in research and development to maintain and enhance its leading industry position. The Company holds numerous patents worldwide on its technologies. For more information about Lumenis and its products, log onto: http://www.lumenis.com
1 2002 Prevent Blindness America (www.usvisionproblems.org)
2 Diabetes Care 27:1047-1053, 2004
3 AMD Alliance International (www.amdalliance.org)