IntraLase readies for growth in the microkeratome market

Following its recent initial public offering, IntraLase has positioned itself for growth in the keratome market.

New Orleans-Following its recent initial public offering, IntraLase has positioned itself for growth in the keratome market.

In a media briefing Friday, Robert Palmisano, chief executive officer and president of IntraLase, Irvine, CA, outlined the key metrics of the keratome market, the company's strategic position, and the competitive landscape.

Based on second quarter figures ending in June, Palmisano said IntraLase is looking at four metrics for its growth. Presently, the company has 153 laser placements, double the number it had in all of 2003. IntraLase procedures at 6 months this year (over 89,500) are equal to the total number of procedures in 2003. The company's market share is at 14% with global revenues over $25 million.

LASIK procedure volume in all of refractive surgery is projected to grow 15% in 2004. There are 4,100 centers performing 3.6 million LASIK procedures. IntraLase sees a lot of potential in the global market, and has a femtosecond laser in 17 countries.

Palmisano said IntraLase is focusing on high-volume centers, which perform more than 50 procedures per month. He added that IntraLase lasers mean better business. Palmisano pointed out that physicians using IntraLase make more money with an average fee increase of $334 per procedure and $138 profit increase per eye. The average IntraLase user performs 125 procedures per month.

IntraLase is also showing continued growth in its competitive landscape. IntraLase may have 14% of the keratome market, but it is showing strong market increases. While Bausch & Lomb, Moria, Advanced Medical Optics, and others share 86% of the current market, their share has declined from 93% in 2003.

William Culbertson, MD, director of refractive surgery at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, provided clinical significance of the femtosecond laser. He outlined the importance of the technology to patient care and to the refractive surgery industry. He also explained why more teaching institutions are moving to the laser technology.

Dan Durrie, MD, Overland, KS, wrapped up the briefing by delivering a clinical update on the IntraLase laser. He highlighted a long-term study on the comparison of the femtosecond laser and a mechanical microkeratome. He will present the complete data during the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.

Dr. Durrie concluded that laser keratomes are the next step in quality vision. He added that eyes treated with IntraLase had better uncorrected visual acuity and there are important safety potentials and better results. He said longer follow-up and additional prospective, multicenter studies are needed to validate the results.

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