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MORE SURGEONS TRAINED FOR INTACS THAN EXPECTED.

KeraVision, Inc. (Nasdaq:KERA), the vision correction company, has trained 187 ophthalmic surgeons to perform the Intacs(TM) treatment for myopia since April 9. That is when Intacs became the first FDA-approved non-laser option for the surgical treatment of mild nearsightedness.

In remarks recently at the Goldman, Sachs & Co. 20th Annual Healthcare Conference in New York, KeraVision chairman and CEO Thomas M. Loarie said surgeon training is well ahead of schedule and that enrollment in the company's surgeon training sessions is fully booked through August. Previously, KeraVision said it intended to train 200 ophthalmic surgeons by year-end -- or roughly 50 surgeons by the end of June.

Second quarter revenues largely reflect the sale of startup inventory of Intacs, instruments and surgeon training.

Loarie said, "The Intacs launch is being well received by surgeons and extensively and favorably reported by the news media. KeraVision is encouraged by early signs that Intacs are finding acceptance in the marketplace."

He noted that 80 percent of surgeons were performing the Intacs treatment on patients within four weeks of completing training.

Intacs vs. Leading Laser Procedure

In a comparative study, Intacs outperformed the LASIK technique when used to treat mild nearsightedness. Eighty-two percent of Intacs patients saw 20/20 or better after treatment vs. 68 percent of LASIK patients, and 63 percent saw 20/16 or better vs. 27 percent of LASIK patients. Data are based on clinical results for 50 U.S. Phase III Intacs patients and 46 LASIK patients, all treated for -1.0 to -4.0 diopters of myopia at Hunkeler Vision Centers in Kansas City.

Intacs are unique from other techniques because they can be removed if a patient's vision needs change with age. In U.S. clinical studies, 100 percent of patients returned to within one diopter of their original refraction after their Intacs were removed and 86 percent returned to within one-half diopter.

Intacs are approved for treating the approximately 20 million adult Americans who are within the range of -1.0 to -3.0 diopters. Defined as "mild" myopes, these people often require correction for ordinary activities like driving or seeing an alarm clock and are estimated to be the fastest growing segment of the vision correction surgery market.

Results for First Intacs Customer

Also reported at the Goldman, Sachs conference were clinical results for the first commercial Intacs patient in the U.S: Tom Loarie II, son of KeraVision's chairman and CEO.

Loarie, who was treated with Intacs on April 15, was corrected to 20/20 in both eyes. Previously, he saw 20/200 in the left eye and 20/80 in the right eye and with low astigmatism. The treatment was performed by David J. Schanzlin, M.D., who is chief clinical investigator for the Intacs clinical trials and professor of ophthalmology at the University of California -- San Diego, Shiley Eye Center.

Media Coverage of Intacs

Since the first of the year, Intacs have been positively featured in more than 3,200 articles in U.S. newspapers and magazines and in nearly 300 TV broadcasts, according to the media tracking services Bacon's Information Inc. and Video Monitoring Services of America LP. Major stories appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" and CNN, among others.

KeraVision, Fremont, Calif., founded in 1986, is the developer of Intacs, the first FDA-approved non-laser option for the surgical treatment of mild myopia (nearsightedness). Intacs are a safe and convenient alternative to eyeglasses, contact lenses and vision correction surgeries that permanently alter the eye's central optical zone. The company's patented technology platform is also being developed for the possible treatment of other common vision problems including mild hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

For more information, call 510/353-3075.
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Comment:MORE SURGEONS TRAINED FOR INTACS THAN EXPECTED.
Publication:Biotech Business
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 1999
Words:627
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