Interview With The President and CEO: SpectraScience, Inc. (SCIE) - Michael P. Oliver
67 WALL STREET, New York - March 19, 2012 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Medical Devices Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special page feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.
In the following brief excerpt from the Medical Devices Report, expert analysts discuss the outlook for the sector and for investors.
Michael P. Oliver, President and Chief Executive Officer of SpectraScience, Inc., has more than 20 years of experience in the medical device industry, and has been a member of four management teams that took over struggling medical device companies, increased their revenues and profitability, and sold them to strategic buyers. In these companies, Mr. Oliver served in the capacity of head of sales and marketing, and, in two cases held major operational responsibilities as well. Mr. Oliver received his MSA from The George Washington University and his B.S. from the United States Naval Academy.
TWST: Let's start with a brief historical sketch of SpectraScience, and a picture of what the company is doing at the present time.
Mr. Oliver: SpectraScience (SCIE) was formed in 2004, when it acquired the intellectual property of a predecessor company, GV Medical, in Minneapolis. In 2007, we acquired the assets of another entity, MediSpectra, from Boston. Both companies were involved in the detection and diagnosis of cancer using optical technologies, and between them had approximately $125 million of invested capital. Since then, we have taken the best aspects of each in the development of our current product portfolio. We have developed four iterations of the WavSTAT Optical Biopsy System, with each generation demonstrating substantial improvement in ease of use and diagnostic power. For example, the mobile console has gone from the size of a refrigerator to a relatively small footprint - 18 by 24 inches, and it's on casters so the medical staff can roll it around in a procedure room. We have CE mark in Europe, and FDA approval for version three of our product in the U.S., and we have launched commercially our colorectal cancer application in Europe, with our first sales occurring in December of last year.
TWST: Would you explain the mechanics of cancer diagnosis and detection, utilizing this light-based technology? What are the typical fields of inquiry?
Mr. Oliver: Let me look at it from a slightly different perspective, if I may. Let me start with what the technology does, because we have two technologies that measure two separate parameters, and then we'll talk about applications, if that's OK.
Mr. Oliver: The first technology is laser-induced fluorescence. When human tissue is excited by coherent light - i.e., laser light - at very low levels, it absorbs this light and emits a fluorescent spectra that is a function of certain amino acids and proteins that are in the cells. Normal tissue emits a certain spectra that we recognize and understand. As epithelial tissue morphs from that smooth regular tissue with an abundance of those enzymes and proteins, it changes its biochemical nature and those enzymes and proteins are significantly depleted. When we query cancerous or precancerous tissue with our laser light, we get very different emitted spectra, and from that we can make a determination of whether a particular piece of tissue is potentially cancerous or noncancerous.
Our WavSTAT Optical Biopsy System can make that determination in one second during a routine colonoscopy. The second technology that we use is a white light technology called scattering spectroscopy. Much in the way that when you put your fingers over a light, you'll see the red light come through your fingers - that's light that has been scattered by the cells and all the structures of your hand and has come out the other side. Similarly, we bathe a section of tissue in white light, and again, it's in very low, nonharmful levels, and we measure exactly how it is scattered. That scattering pattern is a function of the size of the cell, the thickness of the cell wall, the density of the cellular composition, how densely the cells are packed together. Epithelial tissue, when it's normal tissue, is smooth and regular and scatters in a very predictable pattern.
As the tissue undergoes morphology in the precancerous and cancerous states, it becomes more irregular in nature. The cell walls thicken, the density of the cells and the size of the cell nuclei relative to the cell size, all changes, as does the vascularity of the area. All of those things combine to give a different scattering pattern. And we detect the differences in those patterns. So it is those two technologies, when used either together or singularly, allow us to differentiate and diagnose cancerous tissue and distinguish it from noncancerous tissue. It allows us to do that in vivo, meaning still in the patient. The physician has not had to cut out a tissue sample and send it to a diagnostic lab. And we make those calculations in approximately one to two seconds.
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