Clarity Medical Systems announces major move into adult eye care market

Pleasanton 02 July 2006Clarity Medical Systems, maker of advanced ophthalmology systems, plans to enter the lucrative market for adult eye care with a major new technology for evaluating, treating and documenting eye disease in the outpatient setting. Clarity's management outlined the company's plans during a presentation at Windhover's Medical Devices Summit, taking place in San Francisco.

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The adult eye care market is ripe for innovation. Today the common eye exam is performed in much the same way that it was 50 years ago. Doctors continue to use a large array of isolated, primarily analogue devices, many of which were created in the early 20th century.

Clarity believes that its new system, dubbed P2, will make those approaches obsolete. The technology is designed to provide a highly automated, integrated system to examine and treat the eye in the typical office setting. P2 combines capabilities for three-dimensional imaging, analysis, treatment and PACS-like data archiving all in a single platform, offering unprecedented functionality and ease-of-use. The result for practice management is improved efficiency, increased patient flow, reduced staff costs, and capture of more billable procedures, together with improved clinical care.

Clarity foresees ready market penetration for P2 because of the significant return on investment for the eyecare practitioner. In fact, doctors can begin generating incremental revenue over acquisition costs as early as the first month of operation. The economics and utility of the system are attractive not only for the ophthalmologist's office but also for the standard optometry practice.

"We see our new system as a disruptive technology with the potential to create a fundamental shift in office-based eye care in the same way that the introduction of MRI changed the landscape of radiological practice", stated Keith L. Mullowney, Clarity's chief executive. "Given the enormous size of the worldwide outpatient ophthalmology market, P2 could easily become a hundred million dollar product line in the next 5 years."

Clarity has already received United States regulatory clearance to market P2. The company will begin to roll out beta models of the system in the first half of 2007. Clarity's move into the adult sector comes as the company is strengthening its presence in paediatric ophthalmology. Here the company currently markets the RetCam II Digital Imaging System, the only system designed for the specialized needs of imaging small eyes. RetCam is viewed by many top retinal specialists as the gold standard for imaging eyes in this population, and the system is being used at most of the top United States paediatric hospitals, including Boston Children's, St. Jude's, and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. There is also a strong international market for the RetCam, with more than 350 systems in use in 37 countries.

With the RetCam, doctors can - for the first time - evaluate paediatric patients remotely, so that the physician need not be physically present at the child's bedside. Recent research, from large international study groups as well as from prestigious medical centres such as Columbia University, support the utility of using RetCam as the enabling technology for telemedicine applications aimed at improving access to, and quality of, care.

A prototypic example of these efforts is the Stanford University Network for Diagnosis of Retinopathy of Prematurity (SUNDROP). The network, which was launched in April to screen infants for a potentially blinding eye disease, links five hospitals around the San Francisco Bay Area, with a RetCam at each location. Other, smaller networks are also being established in less urban areas of the United States, including the Midwest and Southwest, as well as in Europe and South America.

"We're starting to see significant traction among all types of hospitals for using the RetCam as the basis of telemedicine approaches", Mr. Mullowney noted. "These programmes are taking hold in markets across the country and even around the globe. We expect this to be a driver of major growth in RetCam sales over the next several years."

Clarity Medical Systems is a privately held medical technology company that develops, manufactures and markets integrated optical systems and services to enhance the clinician's ability to diagnose, evaluate and treat eye disorders. The company's patented devices combine innovative optical, electronic and information technologies that change the very nature of how eye health care is delivered. Clarity's flagship product is the RetCam II Digital Imaging system, which has revolutionized the standard of ophthalmologic evaluation in infants and children. The RetCam is being used by leading medical centres worldwide, including the foremost United States children's hospitals. Clarity is also developing a full line of advanced products and services for adult eye health care. The company expects to introduce the first of these offerings in the next 12 months.


Leslie Versweyveld

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