By STEVE SINOVIC
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Santa Barbara-based TrueVision 3D Surgical has seen significant growth in the past year, increasing its customer base and seeing a lot of upside for its product line at the hospital and medical center level.
And there's plenty more growth to be had, said CEO Forrest Fleming.
TrueVision's visualization and guidance systems for neurological and opthalmic surgeries already are in use at six of the eight top U.S. hopsitals, as reported by U.S. News and World Report in its recent 2014 "Best Hospitals" honor roll of 17 institutions. They include august facilities such as the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic adn UCLA Medical Center.
“We’re proud of the role our products play in these prestigious and nationally-recognized hospitals,” said Mr. Fleming. “From the operating room to the class room and conference center, our systems make a positive impact on the microsurgery landscape for surgeons, medical staff, students and patients.”
Four additional top hospitals are in the "in-process" phase, but Mr. Fleming said the sales have yet to close.
TrueVision's system captures, displays in real-time, calibrates and records into an editable format appropriate for creating clear, life-like video used to communicate with all the OR, pre-doctoral education, post-doctoral certified medical education and other playback needs.
"The time in the operating room with residents is limited and TrueVision's 3D visualization system helps us make the most of that time," said H. Hunt Batjer, M.D., former chairman of nurological surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
Helping get the products to market is TrueVision's collaboration with Leica, a German-based manufacturer of microscopes and scientific instruments. Leica has become a key customer by distributing TrueVision's 3D surgical guidance systems through its sales channels.
Thanks to the boost provided by Leica's sizable sales force and network of dealers, "We've had more new orders in the first quarter (of 2014) than any previous year in the company's history," said Mr. Fleming.
The TrueVision software Suite, which gives surgeons better views when they are operating, sells for about $70,000. It is then integrated into Leica's microscopes, which in turn sell from $200,000 to $300,000.
The Leica partnership will help increase sales from an estimated $3 million to $4 million in 2013 to something approaching "the $6 million to $9 million range" by the end of2014, he said back in April.
"That will be a quite a milestone if we reach it," Mr. Fleming said of a company founded in 2003 by scientist Mike Weissman.
The company's growth has been boosted by the financial backing of 100 investors, many of them high-net worth individuals and physicians who clearly see the potential in surgical microscopy with TrueVision's product line.
Although TrueVision is realizing potential in the hospital world, there's nothing that ties its surgical tools specifically to that vertical. Military healthcare providers and private practice surgeons world-wide are also likely customers.