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Eye laser manufacturer primed for growth in 2018


New headquarters for a South Australian eye laser research and development company are set to provide a springboard for growth in 2018.

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Ellex is a global leader in medical devices for the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. It has about 10 core products across five areas of eye health: glaucoma; diabetic eye diseases; secondary cataracts; age-related macular degeneration; and, vitreous opacities, which are commonly know as eye floaters.

The Australian Stock Exchange listed company officially opened its new headquarters in the South Australian capital, Adelaide, last month.

The new 2.18 hectare facility in the northern suburb of Mawson Lakes allows Ellex’s machine shop, clean rooms and administration to be co-located for the first time.

A major feature is the Controlled Environment Room (CER), which is a state of the art, dust free space where the lasers are built to eliminate any risk of contamination.

Early indications have already shown measurable reductions in costs and manufacturing time per unit, without any risk of compromising the quality and reliability of our products.

Ellex already sells its laser and ultrasound systems in more than 100 countries and has offices in the United States, France, Germany and Japan. The new facility is also giving the company room for further growth.

Executive Director Dr Meera Verma said Ellex almost doubled the laser and ultrasound side of the business between 2013 and 2017 and was experiencing remarkable growth – from 10,000 units to 50,000 units a year – with its illuminated, micron-scale microcatheter iTrack.

Ellex Executive Director Dr Meera Verma at the company’s new headquarters. Picture: Lyndal Redman/Redman Media.

She said the new manufacturing plant provided more than double the production capacity of the former Ellex facility and offered significant operational efficiencies.

“The largest area we have an opportunity to expand into is glaucoma because we’ve got unique combination of products – we’re about the only company in the world that has a laser and a catheter to treat glaucoma,” Dr Verma said.

“The new facility positions us well and has given us the capacity to grow and explore a number of other opportunities on the global stage.

“It’s a larger space with purpose built clean rooms that allow us to develop our proprietary laser technologies with a very high degree of compliance to regulations.

“We also have co-located our machine shop, which really improves the input of our machine shop into what we do, it allows us to actually consider swapping out imported parts for locally produced components and that has huge potential for assisting our profitability as well as our market reach.”

Ellex’s new machine shop is co-located with its headquarters.

Ellex began in Adelaide in 1985 and is South Australia’s largest medical device manufacturer with more than 280 employees worldwide.

Dr Verma said while products for the treatment of glaucoma were the company’s biggest seller, there was a significant opportunity for growth in the area of age-related macular degeneration.

She said Ellex was developing a new product that was due to finish a three-year clinical trial in 2018.

“It’s a very gentle laser and it help rejuvenate cells in the retina that have been affected by macular degeneration to help people recover their sight and stop it from getting any worse.

“So this year will be an interesting year because the clinical trial is going to finish, which will give us data around age-related macular degeneration.

“We’ve got people using it for degenerate case studies to see how well it works in this particular area so doctors have it right now but to get maximum commercialisation it will take until probably next year until we see a pick up in sales and direct revenues from it.”

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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