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Kimball Electronics And Avantis Medical Systems, Inc. Partner On New Life-Saving Device



5/21/2010 9:02:19 AM

JASPER, Ind.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Addressing the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., colorectal cancer, Kimball Electronics Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Kimball International, Inc. (NASDAQ: KBALB), and Avantis Medical Systems, Inc., announced today that the two companies have entered into an exclusive arrangement for Kimball to manufacture the Avantis Third Eye ® Retroscope ®, a revolutionary new catheter-based camera device that works in conjunction with existing colonoscopy equipment.

Kimball Electronics Group is a global top-twenty-ranked contract electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company that specializes in durable electronics with applications in the medical, automotive, industrial controls, and public safety industries. Avantis Medical Systems, Inc. is a visualization technology company focused on delivering cost effective solutions for the improved detection and prevention of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.

The Third Eye Retroscope is a unique new disposable device that is deployed through the instrument channel of a standard colonoscope to provide the physician with an additional retrograde (backward) view of the colon along with the colonoscope’s (forward) view. Across three independent clinical studies involving over 900 patients, the Third Eye has demonstrated an additional pre-cancerous adenoma detection rate of up to 25% compared to standard colonoscopy.

Every year 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 50,000 die from the disease, making it the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. However, these deaths are completely preventable if the problem is detected early. In the United States, there are over 20 million colonoscopies performed each year, but colonoscopy, currently considered the “gold standard” for examination of the colon, is limited in its capability to see behind folds in the wall of the colon, which has resulted in well-documented miss rates of 22-24% for pre-cancerous adenomas.

The Kimball Electronics-Fremont facility, with its close proximity to Avantis’ headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, is working closely with Avantis to prepare for full-scale manufacturing of the catheter. Initial production has begun at the Kimball Electronics-Fremont facility, with future higher volume production planned for Kimball’s FDA-certified operation in Thailand.

“Operating much like a ‘rear-view mirror’ on a colonoscope, our device has the potential to substantially reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer by increasing the detection of pre-cancerous adenomas,” said Scott Dodson, President and CEO of Avantis Medical Systems. “Kimball’s demonstrated commitment to excellence, their passion for what Avantis is working to accomplish in GI medicine, and their global presence were all key factors in our decision to award them this business."

Chris Thyen, Vice President, Business Development, Kimball Electronics Group, stated, “Being selected by Avantis as their strategic manufacturing partner is an honor, and we are especially proud to have this opportunity to build a product that will be so important in the diagnosis and prevention of such a devastating disease.”

The addition of the Avantis Third Eye Retroscope adds to the diversification of Kimball Electronics’ medical product portfolio. Kimball has a solid reputation for excellence and reliability in the medical devices and diagnostics equipment market, built upon its long-standing performance record and global operational footprint. Kimball is ranked in the top tier of global EMS companies serving the medical equipment market sector.

About Avantis Medical Systems, Inc.:

Avantis Medical Systems, Inc. is a medical device company founded to develop and manufacture catheter-based endoscopic devices. Based in Sunnyvale, California, the Company’s initial focus is on devices for use in detecting and treating cancers and other abnormalities of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The Avantis team has many decades of experience in the medical device industry. The Company is developing a number of innovative devices based on the convergent technologies of micro-chips and reinforced catheters.

To learn more about Avantis, visit their website at: www.avantismedical.com

About Kimball Electronics:

Kimball Electronics Group is a global contract electronic manufacturing services (EMS) company that specializes in durable electronics for the medical, automotive, industrial and public safety markets. Kimball Electronics Group is well recognized by customers and industry trade publications for its excellent quality, reliability and innovative service. Kimball Electronics Group has manufacturing operations in the U.S., Mexico, Thailand, Poland, Wales, and China. Kimball Electronics Group is a business unit of Kimball International, a $1.2 billion dollar publicly held company headquartered in Jasper, Indiana.

To learn more about Kimball Electronics Group, visit our website at: www.kegroup.com

About Kimball International:

Recognized with a reputation for excellence, Kimball International is committed to a high performance culture that values personal and organizational commitment to quality, reliability, value, speed, and ethical behavior. Kimball employees know they are part of a corporate culture that builds success for Customers while enabling employees to share in the Company’s success through personal, professional and financial growth.

Kimball International, Inc. (NASDAQ: KBALB) provides a variety of products from its two business segments: the Electronic Manufacturing Services segment and the Furniture segment. The Electronic Manufacturing Services segment provides engineering and manufacturing services which utilize common production and support capabilities to a variety of industries globally. The Furniture segment provides furniture for the office and hospitality industries, sold under the Company’s family of brand names.

To learn more about Kimball International, Inc., visit the Company’s website on the Internet at: www.kimball.com

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