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February 25, 2002
Olympus finalizes an agreement with ERBE ( Germany ),
a leading manufacturer of electrosurgery units,
for the OEM supply of their products
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. ( hereinafter "Olympus" ) ( President : Tsuyoshi Kikukawa ) and ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH ( Location : Tubingen Germany / CEO : Helmut Erbe ) finalized an agreement for the OEM supply of ERBE products. From the fall 2002 ( projected ), Olympus will begin marketing argon plasma coagulators ( hereinafter "APC" ) and electrosurgery units supplied by ERBE in the gastrointestinal endoscope market. Regulatory approvals are expected. The devices will be sold under the Olympus brand name.
The combination of OEM-based marketing of APC's and electrosurgery unit supplied by ERBE, the specialized manufacturer of the world's most advanced electrosurgery units, with Olympus' existing product range is likely to create a formidable force in the field of gastrointestinal endoscopy.
An APC is a device which performs the "argon plasma coagulation *1", a technique which is used commonly on a worldwide scale. With the APC now added to Olympus' product line, it will be possible for Olympus to consolidate and build on their position in the market of therapeutic endoscopy *2.
The applications for endoscopes in the medical field have significantly expanded in recent years. The general trend suggests a move away from pure diagnostics towards quite complex therapeutic procedures. The APC will allow Olympus to continue to meet the expectations of its customers in this way and will continue to enhance its reputation as a "total endoscopy supplier", actively building on the technologies developed by other companies by means of collaboration and consolidation, while simultaneously carrying on its own product development in-house.
Profile of ERBE
Name of Company : ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH
President : Helmut Erbe ( CEO )
Head Office : Waldhornlestrasse 17 D-72072 Tubingen Germany
Established : 1847
Net Sales : Approximately EUR 83,200,000 ( including the sales through subsidiaries in year 2001 )
Number of employees : 440 ( worldwide, as of December 2001 )
Business Profile : Manufacture and sales of medical equipment focusing on the electrosurgery unit as a core product. ( An active researcher with universities, deploying its high technologies for customer-oriented product development )
*1 Argon plasma coagulation :
Firstly, argon gas is emitted from the end of the probe running through the endoscope channel. Next, high-frequency current is discharged from an electrosurgery unit. When argon gas becomes electrically conductive ( argon plasma ) this allows the current to reach the targeted mucosa of the tissue which is coagulated shallowly and uniformly.
The device is especially effective for the coagulation of hemorrhages on the surface of the tissue.
*2 Therapeutic Endoscopy :
This is a type of endoscopy which uses a device specifically designed for carrying out procedures such as :
  a) Polypectomy ( resection of a polyp using a high-frequency snare )
  b) EMR ( Endoscopic Mucosal Resection )
When discussing therapy, it is important to remember that compared to conventional surgical methods, therapeutic endoscopy will often be a quicker and less painful option, one which is likely to lead to faster recovery times and be comparatively atraumatic for the patient.
*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
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