Olympus and VisEn Medical Sign Exclusive Japanese Distribution Agreement for Near Infrared Fluorescence Probes and Fluorescence Tomographic Imaging Systems

VisEn Medical, Inc.

Olympus and VisEn Medical Sign Exclusive Japanese Distribution Agreement for Near Infrared Fluorescence Probes and Fluorescence Tomographic Imaging Systems

August 7, 2006

TOKYO & WOBURN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 7, 2006--Olympus Corporation (Olympus, President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) and VisEn Medical, Inc. (VisEn, CEO: Kirtland G. Poss), today announced that they have signed an exclusive Japanese distribution agreement covering VisEn's fluorescence molecular tomography(TM) (FMT(TM)) imaging systems and portfolio of in vivo near infrared fluorescence probes. Olympus will commence sales of the products from September 1, 2006. The FMT systems and in vivo near infrared fluorescence probes were developed to enable today's leading in vivo performance in fluorescence molecular imaging. By combining VisEn's products with the Olympus OV100 and IV100 molecular imaging systems, it will be possible to generate an unprecedented range of molecular imaging data in vivo, from the cellular and tissue levels to the quantification of molecular activities, real time within the whole body. These products will accelerate progress in disease research and in drug development by significantly expanding molecular imaging applications and enhancing data quality in diseases including cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and bone disease.

Background

Known molecular pathways in the body drive all life phenomena in human beings, including disease onset, progression and recovery. In vivo molecular imaging is now widely used in advanced life science research to observe and analyze the in vivo dynamics of cells, proteins and molecules. By analyzing these dynamics, it is possible to detect, understand and characterize diseases earlier, and to achieve a better understanding and characterization of the mechanisms that cause such diseases, and the effectiveness of related treatments. Three basic methods used in optical molecular imaging are: near infrared imaging using biocompatible molecular probes, imaging by means of fluorescent proteins, and luminescent imaging. Near infrared fluorescence imaging using biocompatible molecular probes is an extremely effective and highly sensitive method of in vivo imaging and is increasingly playing a central role in disease research and drug development, from animal research today, through medicine tomorrow.

VisEn's fluorescence probes are designed to target and read out various disease-related molecular activities in vivo, including protease activity, angiogenesis, vascular permeability and bone turnover. VisEn's FMT system provides true quantification of fluorescence within the living animal. Together, they can be used to observe and quantify a range of biological phenomena in vivo, including molecular activities in disease states such as cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and bone disease. The molecular imaging systems developed and sold by Olympus are the OV100 in vivo imaging system, which can be used for a wide range of observations, from full views of small animals to the cellular level, and the IV100 in vivo laser scanning microscope, which supports direct in vivo observation of small animals. The conclusion of an exclusive Japanese distribution agreement with VisEn will allow Olympus to combine its imaging systems with VisEn's products, thereby enabling Olympus to supply its customer with today's leading fluorescence technologies that can be used for in vivo observations and data generation from cells and tissues throughout the whole body.

Hiroyuki Yoshimori, Division Manager of Bio Business Division, Olympus Co. commented, "We are very pleased to collaborate with VisEn Medical Inc. Because of its power and sensitivity in imaging molecular activities in vivo, near infrared fluorescence imaging is playing an increasingly central role in research and drug development today. VisEn's technology platforms bring a clear level of technology and market leadership to our programs in the space. Bringing these new technologies along with the Olympus IV100 and OV100 to our customers will enable powerful imaging solutions that will fundamentally expand the real-time understanding of in vivo biology. These platforms and the data they generate will lead to better research and more efficient drug development today, and will ultimately enable doctors to see, understand and treat disease in new and better ways tomorrow."

Kirtland G. Poss, President and Chief Executive Officer of VisEn Medical, Inc. commented on the announcement, "We are delighted to enter into this partnership with Olympus on VisEn's Fluorescent Probe Portfolio and FMT Imaging System. Olympus is a clearly recognized leader in developing and marketing top-quality systems for both the research and clinical markets, and today they have a growing emphasis on bringing the industry's central fluorescent technologies from translational research and into personalized medicine. With VisEn's range of in vivo fluorescence imaging probes and the true fluorescence tomography provided by the FMT platform, our combined technologies, products and shared vision in molecular imaging will have a major impact in providing real time readouts of biologic activity in a wide range of diseases states. These programs provide additional foundation to VisEn's mission of developing and translating the highest performance fluorescence imaging technologies from research into clinical medicine."

VisEn's FMT system and in vivo near infrared fluorescence probes will be on display at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Japan Cancer Association (President: Tadao Kakizoe, National Cancer Center), which will be held at Pacifico Yokohama from September 28 to 30, 2006.

About VisEn Medical, Inc.

VisEn Medical was established based on leading technologies developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The Company is financed in part from major venture funds, including Flagship Ventures and The Bollard Group. Its activities are as follows: 

  • Development and sales of products that include fluorescence tomography imaging systems and near infrared fluorescence probes for use in fluorescence molecular imaging
  • Sales of products for use in imaging of small animals, and development of clinical systems and probes
  • Development of solutions for disease research in such areas as cancer, bone growth, cardiovascular disease and inflammation 

URL http://www.visenmedical.com/

About VisEn's Suite of Fluorescent Product Solutions 

  • Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (FMT) System: Provides rapid and absolute quantification and true 3D tomography of fluorescence in mouse models of disease. 
  • Near Infrared (NIR) Fluorescence Probe Portfolio: The leading series of in vivo imaging probes tailored to enable a range of imaging readouts on key disease-associated biologic processes, including angiogenesis, protease activity, vascular permeability, inflammation, cell migration and tracking, and bone regeneration.  

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