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Stocker to Stress Med Tech

Photonics.com
Jan 2008
SALEM, N.H., Jan. 9, 2008 -- StockerYale Inc. said today it will put an increased emphasis on medical market business development in 2008 that will leverage its investments in medical product research and development.

“StockerYale’s key objective in 2008 is to substantially expand sales to the medical instrumentation markets across all three of our product lines -- lasers and specialized optics for the bioinstrumentation market, specialty optical fiber (SOF) for the medical laser market, and LED systems for dermatology and dental equipment, to name a few," said Mark W. Blodgett, chairman and CEO of the company, which makes structured light lasers, LED modules and specialty optical fibers for OEMs. "Sales to the medical vertical increased from less than 5 percent of StockerYale’s total revenues in 2006 to approximately 12 percent in 2007, and we expect that they will represent approximately 20 percent of 2008 revenues given our existing customer relationships and multiple sales initiatives under way."

Blodgett said demand for bioinstruments is growing rapidly as instrumentation evolves from the laboratory to higher-performance, lower-cost commercial clinical applications. "The size of our addressable market for bioinstrumentation lasers and optics alone is estimated to be approximately $100 million, and revenue streams in the biomedical, dermatology and dental markets tend to be highly repeatable once a product has been designed-in," he said. "Increasing our percentage of sales to these markets will be a key factor in driving the operating leverage in our financial model. There is a large market opportunity for StockerYale in these markets, and we believe we are well positioned with both our technology and products to be key provider.”

For laser modules used in bioinstruments, the evolution to commercial clinical applications is driven by the transition from bulky, power-consuming, difficult-to-operate gas lasers to semiconductor diode lasers that are robust, small and require little energy to operate, the company said in a statement. "Utilizing a patent-pending process that efficiently transforms the laser beam into a variety of shapes and distributions, StockerYale has developed a plug-and-play laser module solution that is easy to integrate into end-user systems and will increase system performance in terms of both accuracy and throughput."

The company said its Lasiris PureBeam fiber-coupled lasers and Flat-Top Generator laser beam shaping modules are enabling it to break into new markets such as spectroscopy, fluorescence, confocal microscopy and DNA sequencing, which require laser sources with extremely high output power stabilities.

Its specialty optical fiber division is entering the medical market with fiber-based laser delivery assemblies in partnership with a leading medical equipment company. Lasers, which are used as surgical tools for ablation, cutting and coagulation of tissue as well as a variety of minimally invasive procedures, use fiber assemblies to deliver the high power laser light from the laser to the patient.

In LED systems for the medical market, Blodgett said the company holds "unique advantages with core competencies in both chip-on-board-based LED technology and customized optics." He said its custom LED products and optical modeling and design skills "overcome the various difficulties inherent in the engineering of LED illumination, enabling the company to develop extremely compact, high-brightness LED illumination systems for unique dental and medical applications that previously could not be realized with standard technology."

Its Lasiris PureBeam and Flat-Top Generator are currently in trials with major manufacturers of bioinstrumentation systems. The company also has several existing medical customers, including Erchonia Medical Instruments, a developer of low-power laser therapy for dermatology and pain management treatments, for its laser modules.

It said its specialty optical fiber division expects to begin shipments of its first fiber-based laser delivery assemblies for minimally invasive surgery in the first quarter of 2008. Twenty of its LED system modules will be used in point-of-care treatment systems under development to be used as a photo-initiator for a pharmaceutical product and will be involved in clinical trials in the spring of 2008. Each module incorporates more than 100 each of two types of LEDs with custom wavelengths as well as optical design features, thermal management expertise and an integrated control circuit. The company said it also expects to significantly increase production of its custom-engineered LED modules for the dental market for a Fortune 100 company in 2008.

Blodgett will speak at the 10th Annual Needham Growth Stock Conference Jan. 11 at 11 a.m. in New York City, during which he will provide an overview of the company’s medical instrumentation strategy. A Web cast of the presentation will be available at: stockeryale.com/investor/events.htm



GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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