Olympus looks to the future with launch of sinus surgery tool

Olympus ($OCPNY), still in recovery mode after revealing a massive accounting scandal in 2011, continues attempts to refocus investor attention with the launch of new products. This time, the Japanese maker of endoscopes and cameras is rolling out a new tool designed to help speed up minimally invasive sinus surgeries. And it's promoting the device in the context of the U.S. health reform law, which favors new medical devices and procedures that help cut costs.

The company's marketing juggernaut is putting its energies behind the Diego Elite Multidebrider surgical tool, a device designed for polypectomy, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and a number of laryngeal surgeries, among other procedures. Olympus is trying to shoehorn its marketing of the device under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act. Sure, there's promotion of some of the product's bells and whistles (both monopolar and bipolar energy blades). But Olympus focuses just as much on the device's capacity to reduce costs (a 12% quicker procedure time), control bleeding better and boost quality of care, reducing the need for other instruments. All of these are crucial "key requirements of healthcare reform," the company notes.

On the one hand, Olympus' marketing strategy offers a great example of what medical device companies must do under the Affordable Care Act. They need to prove their devices are quality products that can also help reduce healthcare costs, or they'll lose business. Beyond that, however, Olympus is operating full speed ahead with plans to refocus investors' attention on products rather than scandal and money problems. In fact, the company plans to showcase the Diego Elite Multidebrider at an upcoming conference in Vancouver, Canada.

Late in 2011, Olympus acknowledged it hid $1.7 billion in losses over 20 years, a disaster that lead to new leadership, a new board, plunging share prices, restructuring and thousands of job cuts. The company took another big step forward beyond the crisis last spring, kicking off a medical device joint venture with Sony ($SNE). They'll sell endoscopes and imaging technologies around the world, and now Sony holds a 51% stake in the joint venture enterprise.

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