USGI Medical Announces First US Clinical Use of EndoSurgical Operating System

Published: Mar 14, 2007

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- USGI Medical, Inc., the pioneer in the emerging field of Incisionless EndoSurgery, announced today the use of its recently FDA cleared EndoSurgical Operating System (EOS) in two different surgical procedures. Incisionless EndoSurgery is the next wave in minimally invasive surgery and this new technique has generated intense interest among physicians in the surgical areas of Obesity, GERD, NOTES (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) and advanced therapeutic endoscopy.

According to Dr. Lee Swanstrom, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at Legacy Health Systems, Portland, OR, "The USGI EOS performed very well in my first clinical cases. This is a platform technology that promises least- invasive alternatives to many common procedures."

"In 2006 a joint committee of the leading surgical and gastroenterology societies generated a list of the technological barriers that must be overcome to move towards incisionless surgery, often called NOTES. USGI's EOS addresses these challenges, particularly in the areas of stable surgical access and wound closure within the GI tract," said Dr. Nathaniel Soper, Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. "USGI's EOS greatly facilitates physicians' ability to perform surgical operations without creating abdominal wounds and scars."

Today, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that over 40 million patients are affected by GI diseases in the U.S., resulting in well over $100 billion in annual healthcare expenditures. A large percentage of these patients are potential candidates for Incisionless EndoSurgery.

"Incisionless endosurgery will be a major breakthrough in the way surgery is performed and is viewed as the next step in minimally invasive surgery. In the coming months, our focus will be on exploring the unique benefits of this system in selected surgical procedures," said Daniel Herron, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Mt. Sinai, New York, NY.

USGI, with investment funding from Alta Partners and InterWest Partners, has focused on treating gastrointestinal diseases using only the natural passageways of the GI tract (e.g. the patient's mouth) for access. USGI has been recognized by surgeons, gastroenterologists and patient care advocates as a leader in this field.

"Previously, our ShapeLock(TM) Endoscopic Guide allowed physicians to diagnose and treat conditions in areas not accessible with scopes alone. In 2007, we will see our EOS, with our ShapeLock technology, applied to a wide range of surgical procedures ranging from Obesity to Cholecystectomy," said Eugene Chen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of USGI. "Patients undergoing these 'incisionless' procedures may benefit from reduced pain, no scars and faster recovery times."

About USGI Medical, Inc.

USGI Medical Inc, based in San Clemente, California was founded in 2001 to develop technology for Incisionless EndoSurgery. Potential applications for Incisionless EndoSurgery include Obesity, NOTES (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

About InterWest Partners

InterWest Partners founded in 1979, is a leading diversified venture capital firm focused on building long-term relationships with entrepreneurs and portfolio companies. Currently investing its ninth fund, IW IX, a $600 million fund, InterWest has more than $2 billion of capital raised since inception. InterWest has 17 investing partners in Menlo Park, CA and Dallas, TX, who bring together deep domain knowledge in life sciences and information technology.

About Alta Partners

Alta Partners is a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on life sciences investing. Founded in 1996, the firm currently manages $2 billion in committed capital through eight venture fund programs. Alta invests in biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies across the development continuum, from company formation to later-stage opportunities, and has funded more than 110 life sciences companies to date.

USGI Medical, Inc.

CONTACT: Eugene Chen, President and CEO of USGI Medical, Inc.,+1-949-369-3890,; or Karen Sparks of Mentus LifeScience, +1-858-455-5500 ext. 275,, for USGI Medical, Inc.

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