Broncus Technologies, Inc., a medical device company focused on developing and commercializing innovative solutions for lung diseases, announced today at the American College of Chest Physicians CHEST 2009 meeting that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Medico's Hirata as the sole distributor of their LungPoint system and Yield catheters in Japan. LungPoint is a computer-assisted image-guided navigation system for the lungs and is used for planning and guiding bronchoscopic procedures. The Yield Mini Doppler Probe and Transbronchial Coring Needles are used to acquire tissue samples during bronchoscopy.
Japan is one of the major world markets for bronchoscopy procedures and, according to the latest data from the Japan Society for Respiratory Endoscopy (JSRE), close to 75,000 bronchoscopies are performed each year. Under terms of the agreement, Medico's Hirata will have the exclusive rights to market and sell LungPoint and Yield products throughout Japan.
"We are excited to secure the distribution rights to the LungPoint system and Yield catheters and believe that there is a large market for both products in Japan," states Masataka Hirata, President of Medico's Hirata. "We hope to enable Japanese pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons to perform more efficient and accurate bronchoscopies and reduce the need for their patients to have to undergo repeat or more invasive procedures."
Bronchoscopists face numerous challenges in the accurate diagnosis and staging of lung diseases. One difficulty is finding the route through the lung airways to the area of concern. Analogous to navigation systems used for driving, the LungPoint system allows physicians to select destinations and see the routes to get there. With this application the "destination" is a suspicious lung nodule or other abnormality in the lung and the "streets" are the lung airways. Once the best possible route is selected, the LungPoint system presents an animation of what the journey through the airways to the nodule will look like, providing physicians with a full visual guide. Upon successfully reaching the desired location in the airway, a tissue sample is traditionally collected using a needle that pierces the airway wall. The Mini Doppler catheter can detect blood flow behind the airway wall to help physicians avoid blood vessels during sampling while the Yield needles have unique coring tips to acquire samples for pathology.
"It's a great honor to be working with Medico's Hirata in Japan," states Cary Cole, President and CEO of Broncus Technologies. "Medico's Hirata has more than 90 years of experience serving Japanese physicians and hospitals and we're confident they'll do an exemplary job commercializing LungPoint and Yield."