Olympus rolls out first single-use bronchoscopes following Veran acquisition

Lung model
Olympus' Veran acquisition and entry into the single-use bronchoscope market follows a corporate strategy that placed the company's U.S. subsidiary at the center of its therapeutics work with new priorities in respiratory devices. (Robina Weermeijer / Unsplash)

After the $340 million acquisition of respiratory device developer Veran Medical Technologies late last year, Olympus has launched its first line of single-use bronchoscopes.

Available in five sizes, the disposable devices aim to help diagnose and treat a range of conditions while minimizing the risks of contamination carried by reusable hardware. Certain endoscopes have been notoriously difficult to clean, and the FDA has been urging manufacturers to transition toward single-use form factors following years of reports of infections being transmitted between patients through different procedures. 

Veran Medical, which now operates as an Olympus subsidiary, also produces 3D thoracic navigation and guidance systems, which map out the patient’s airway with CT scans and track lung nodules suspected of harboring cancer.

The acquisition dovetails with an Olympus corporate strategy laid out in late 2019, where the Tokyo-based company made the U.S. subsidiary the headquarters for its therapeutics work with new priorities in gastroenterological, urological and respiratory devices.

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The latest release of single-use endoscopes further supports those aims by targeting surgeons’ procedure-specific requirements, the company said, while simplifying clinicians’ workflows by lowering the costs of maintenance and cleaning.

And, according to Olympus' road map, "single-use and traditional scopes are seen together as part of a complete and complementary endoscopy portfolio," said Ken Daignault, VP of strategy and development for the company’s recently established single-use endoscopy unit.

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The company’s new H-SteriScopes, developed in collaboration with Hunan Vathin Medical Instrument Co., are specifically designed for tissue biopsies and removal of ingested objects, among other procedures. Shipped in sterile packaging, they range from 2.2 mm to 6.2 mm in diameter.

They also allow the insertion tube to be rotated 90 degrees in either direction, with the tip able to curve 210 degrees up and down, allowing surgeons to reach difficult areas within the airway and lungs.

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The FDA cleared its first fully disposable duodenoscope in late 2019, with Boston Scientific’s EXALT Model D, after years of reports of infections transmitted between patients by the notoriously difficult-to-clean devices.

Previous safety studies by the agency, tracking contamination rates of reprocessed duodenoscopes manufactured by Olympus, Fujifilm and Pentax, found up to 5.4% of samples tested positive for “high concern” organisms, such as E. coli or staph bacteria.