LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (“LED Medical”, “the Company”), a developer of tissue visualization detection technologies for the medical industry, said today that it believes that its market-leading VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System has only achieved a small portion of its long-term promise.
“While we are very proud to have the number one adjunctive oral examination device in the world for the detection of oral cancer and other oral disease, we feel we have barely scratched the surface of our potential,” said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its LED Dental subsidiary, which developed the VELscope® Vx. “The fact is that, for all of our success, only a small percentage of all dental practices, and virtually no medical practices, are currently using our technology. As word continues to get out about the threat posed by oral cancer and the proven ability of VELscope® Vx technology to help detect the disease at earlier stages, we feel that more and more health professionals will conclude that adding VELscope® examinations to their current protocol is the best interests of their patients.” Mr. Whitehead also noted that VELscope® technology is designed to help clinicians detect other oral disease, including viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
Approximately 15,000 VELscope® devices, including the latest generation cordless VELscope® Vx and two earlier generations of corded devices, have been sold worldwide since the 2006 launch of the technology. The majority of those devices have been sold to dental practices in the U.S. and Canada, which together have over 120,000 dental practices. This means that more than 100,000 North American dental practices still do not have a VELscope® device. When one considers that many practices would benefit from having multiple VELscope® Vx devices for their multiple operatories, the potential for growth in the North American dental market becomes even greater.
Long-term, the growth potential for the VELscope® Vx could also be formidable in the medical market. There are approximately 200,000 medical practices in North America, and virtually none of them currently has a VELscope® device. Further supporting the potential for this market is the fact that there are roughly five times as many physicians as dentists in North America.
Additional indication of the growth potential for the VELscope® Vx is the fact that North America, where most sales of the device have historically been made, accounts for less than 10 percent of worldwide cases of oral cancer. “We have recently expanded our global distribution capabilities,” said Mr. Whitehead, “but our sales efforts in most international markets are still in their formative stages.”
Oral cancer has experienced a smaller decline in mortality and morbidity over the past several decades than many other types of cancer. The key problem is that the disease is most often detected in late stages, when the five-year survival rate is about 50 percent. When discovered early, however, the survival rate leaps to over 80 percent. Numerous clinical studies have documented the ability of VELscope® technology to help clinicians discover cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions that were missed with the naked eye. In addition, independent surveys of VELscope® users indicate high levels of satisfaction with the device’s ability to help detect lesions that otherwise would have been missed.
Said Mr. Whitehead, “With every passing day, the evidence mounts that VELscope® technology can help clinicians detect oral cancer and other oral disease in earlier stages. As awareness of the efficacy, non-invasiveness and affordability of our technology spreads, I am confident that we will accelerate our sales momentum and, more important, our positive impact on the oral and systemic health of patients everywhere.”