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VOL. 125 | NO. 88 | Thursday, May 6, 2010

Christie Medical Debuts New VeinViewer

By Tom Wilemon

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Christie Medical Holdings Inc. has updated the vascular imaging device it acquired from Luminetx Corp. with the VeinViewer Vision, a more compact model that has a broader range of options.

The VeinViewer Vision looked like a graceful ballerina next to a hulking football player when company officials put the old and new models beside one another for Tuesday’s announcement.

It stands 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 55 pounds, while the old model had a 6-4 frame and a 135-pound body. The VeinViewer Vision also has a smaller base that makes it easier to wheel in and out from hospital beds.

But the upgrades in technology make the device an essential tool for hospitals to decrease costs and lower central line infection rates, said Chris Schnee, general manager for Christie Medical Holdings.

Hospital personnel can use the device to locate peripheral veins for IVs and reduce the need for central venous catheters. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services two years ago stopped reimbursing for re-hospitalizations and longer stays related to secondary infections from catheters.

“We have enhanced everything that makes us the market leader and met every customer request head on,” said George Pinho, president of Christie Medical Holdings. “Vision will continue the VeinViewer tradition of helping clinicians improve venipuncture procedures and patient comfort, while the facilities in which they work receive the benefit of reduced costs, time and unnecessary procedures.”

Two new modes on the VeinViewer vision allow for better imaging of veins. The inverse mode reverses the contrast between the veins and the background, making them easier to see.

“The inverse mode is unbelievable,” Schnee said. “It concentrates all that light into the vein pattern.”

The resize mode allows the image to be cropped to a smaller size so it can be used more easily on infants.

Christie also upgraded the quality of the two other existing modes on the device, the universal and fine detail modes.

The digital reproduction of the vein pattern onto the skin allows health care professionals to see vascular events in real time. If an injection of medicine blows through a vein, the nurse will know it immediately.

Christie Digital Systems, which acquired Luminetx at the end of 2009, also this week unveiled the new logo and signage for Christie Medical Holdings Inc. Company officials in January said the Memphis operation would operate under the new name.

“The Christie Digital acquisition of Luminetx could not be more synergistic,” Schnee said. “The Luminetx Corp. that closes its chapter today brings the distribution, the sales, the marketing, the health care experience. Christie Digital brings unbelievable strength in digital projection technologies, supply chain management and worldwide location.”

The Vision was launched as Christie faces competition from a new player in the vascular imaging market. Accuvein LLC of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., has begun selling a hand-held device that highlights veins beneath the skin.

In 2008, Luminetx sued Accuvein for patent infringement. The lawsuit was settled last year when Accuvein agreed to license the technology from Luminetx.

The financial terms were not disclosed when the two companies settled, but a later statement to Luminetx shareholders revealed that Accuvein paid $2 million to Luminetx to license the technology. At the time of the settlement, which was before the Christie acquisition, Luminetx was in a cash crunch.

Accuvein has been aggressive in launching its product, which is now in use in more than 200 U.S. hospitals, according to the company’s website.

But Schnee said the Vision has superior imaging features and is also easier for nurses and phlebotomists to use despite being larger than the Accuvein device.

Schnee points out that the Vision is a hands-free device that allows health care professionals to keep their eyes on the patient.

“For every market survey we’ve done with customers, they’ve consistently said do not give up your hands-free, eyes-on-patient technique,” Schnee said.

Christie Medical Holdings employs about 20 people in Memphis and is adding to its staff, he said. The company plans to expand its medical device products.

“You can expect multiple more products to enter the VeinViewer platform over the years to come,” Schnee said. “We will be expanding not only the VeinViewer platform, but multiple new medical devices. You can expect enhancements to VeinViewer. You will definitely see completely new additions to our product portfolio.”

Christie Medical Holdings is owned by Christie Digital Systems, a global visual technologies company that is a subsidiary of Japan-based Ushio Inc.

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