Laser Industry Report

May 1, 2004
Medical-laser firm Cutera to go public; British lab wins $5.5 million laser grant; Wavelight changes its relationship with Lumenis; MORE...

Medical-laser firm Cutera to go public

Cutera (formerly Altus Medical; Brisbane, CA) has done something the laser industry has not seen for quite some time: launched an initial public offering. The company and its stockholders are offering 3.53 million shares of common stock at $14/share.

Founded in 1998, Cutera designs, develops, manufactures, and markets the CoolGlide family of products for the removal of hair, leg and facial veins, wrinkles, and benign pigmented lesions. President and CEO Kevin Connor has been with the company since its inception. Prior to that, he was president and general manager of Coherent Medical Group. Since gaining its first FDA clearance in 2000, Cutera has sold more than 1200 systems and 240 upgrades. More than 75% of its products are currently sold in the U.S. but the company says it sees opportunities to expand its presence in Asia and Europe.

British lab wins $5.5 million laser grant

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL; Didcot, England) received a grant of £3 million (US$5.5 million) to create the most intense laser in the world. This award is the first facility-development project grant issued by the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), which took over responsibility for the development of its large-scale research facilities from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in May 2003. CCLRC has put in place a mechanism to support continued development of leading-edge scientific capabilities at the CCLRC large research facilities, which include the Central Laser Facility (CLF) based at RAL.

The latest grant will be used to support further development of the CLF-based Astra laser, a high-power, ultra-short-pulse Ti:sapphire laser facility that currently provides pulses of 800-nm light with 40-fs duration at energies up to 500 mJ, giving a single beam operating at 10 terawatts. The new system will provide the U.K. with a dual-beam facility, delivering a total power of 1 petawatt. The laser's planned dual-beam output is also unique; each beam will be independently configurable and focusable to almost three orders of magnitude above the current operating point of Astra.

Wavelight changes its relationship with Lumenis

WaveLight Laser Technologie (Erlangen, Germany) has terminated its distribution contracts with Lumenis (Yokneam, Israel) in Europe and other areas outside of the United States. Lumenis has been marketing Wavelight's Allegrate Wave excimer laser for refractive surgery under exclusive agreements in the United States, China, and most major countries in Europe. WaveLight says it plans to implement a new sales concept that will promote a more independent and focused approach to the European and Asian markets. WaveLight has already established contacts in the Asian market and is working to establish a new sales organization in other regions of the world.

According to Lumenis, the two companies have been in discussions to restructure their relationship and are still negotiating the future of their partnership in the United States, where Lumenis serves as the exclusive sales agent in the U.S. responsible for marketing, sales and service and support.

JPSA offers excimer-laser refurbishment services

JPSA Laser (Hollis, NH) is now offering UV-laser refurbishment services for excimer lasers. According to the company, refurbishing lasers saves customers money, because the cost to replace sophisticated UV lasers can be quite high. In addition, JPSA says its refurbished lasers perform better than the original factory specifications through upgrades, modifications, and higher-quality parts and designs used in the refurbishment engineering process. JPSA builds UV-laser systems and operates a laser job shop that performs micromachining operations and a variety of other applications in electronics packaging, medical, semiconductor, and other industries.

Also in the news . . .

A new Laser Center of Excellence has been opened at BAE Systems Avionics Group Sensor Systems Division facility (Edinburgh, Scotland). The new facility will be used in the production of the Laser System for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Electro Optical Targeting System. . . . Raytheon Company has been awarded the maximum available share of three competitive contracts for Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb components by the U.S. Air Force. The contracts include a 70% share of the FY2004 LGB procurements for the Air Force and Navy for $116 million plus 100% of a stand-alone contract to provide front-end guidance units to the Air Force.

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