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Health Canada Approval For Verisante Aura™ Marks Milestone In Skin Cancer Detection

October 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Verisante Technology, Inc. (TSX-V: VRS, OTCQX: VRSEF, Frankfurt: V3T) (the “Company” or “Verisante”), a leader in cancer imaging technology, announced today that it has obtained a licence from Health Canada to market and sell the Verisante Aura™, an innovative, non-invasive medical device for the early detection of skin cancer.

“Obtaining a licence from Health Canada means we are now able to begin marketing and selling Verisante Aura™ in Canada. This is a defining milestone for our Company,” said President and CEO Thomas Braun. “Our technology has the ability to revolutionize the way skin cancer is diagnosed, saving lives and costs. Verisante Aura™ will aid healthcare professionals in assessing skin lesions, reducing patient wait times and decreasing healthcare costs by detecting skin cancer at an early and most easily treatable stage.”

According to the BC Cancer Agency (“BCCA”), one in six Canadians will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. The increasing incidence of skin cancer in addition to the aging demographic, creates a natural demand for a device that can assist a doctor to quickly and efficiently analyze suspicious lesions.   

Early detection is key to saving the lives of melanoma patients and saving healthcare costs. When melanoma is diagnosed and treated in the earliest stages, the survival rate is 99 per cent and it costs about $1,800 to treat it. In the late stages, the survival rate decreases to 15 per cent, while the cost to treat it increases to $170,000. According to the latest report by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, The Economic Burden of Skin Cancer in Canada: Current and Projected, the number of estimated skin cancer cases in Canada in 2004 was more than 80,000. The report anticipates that number is expected to rise above 200,000 by 2031. The same report estimated total cost of treating skin cancer in Canada was over $500 million in 2004. Estimated costs to treat all types of skin cancers in Canada rises to almost $1 billion by 2031.     

A major competitive advantage of the Aura™ is that in addition to detecting melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, the Aura™ also detects basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, which together make up about 96 per cent of all skin cancers. While early detection of melanoma is critical due to its high mortality rate, it is also important to detect the most common skin cancers early in order to achieve the best results for patients.

“It is very gratifying to see Verisante Aura™ reaching commercialization after many years of research and study at the BC Cancer Agency and Vancouver General Hospital,” said Dr. Harvey Lui, MD, FRCPC, Director of the Skin Care Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, Dermatologic Oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, University of British Columbia and one of the inventors of the Aura™.

“The importance of a unique tool such as the Verisante Aura™ to efficiently diagnose skin cancers cannot be overstated. We are in an epidemic of skin cancers of all types. The Verisante Aura™ can potentially be used by general practitioners and primary care physicians to evaluate suspicious skin lesions quickly and accurately.”

Verisante Aura™ is indicated for use for the evaluation of skin lesions that may be clinically suspicious for melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and/or basal cell carcinoma when a medical professional chooses to obtain additional information to rule out one of the above conditions before making a final decision to biopsy. Aura™ is a non-invasive optical system designed as a tool to aid medical professionals in the assessment of suspect skin lesions for diagnosis as either skin cancer or a benign disorder in less than two seconds.

Verisante Aura™ is a non-invasive device that uses Raman spectroscopy to biochemically analyze the skin,  providing immediate and accurate results. The device will help to automate the current process of diagnosis, allowing rapid scanning of the 20 to 40 skin lesions on at-risk individuals, improving patient outcomes and comfort.

“Obtaining a licence to market and sell Verisante Aura™ in Canada is a key first step in opening up markets throughout the country,” said Braun. “We will now work towards full production and product delivery.  In the interim, we will be producing a limited number of units for post-market approval studies as we launch our marketing, sales and distribution plans.”

Under the Company’s Licensing Agreement with the BCCA, a milestone payment of $120,000 is payable to BCCA upon obtaining the Health Canada Licence.

The Company intends to pursue additional regulatory approvals in the EU and Australia by the end of 2011, after which the Company will pursue FDA approval.

About Verisante Technology, Inc.

Verisante is a medical device company committed to commercializing innovative systems for the early detection of cancer. The Verisante Aura™ for skin cancer detection and the Verisante Core™ series for lung, colon and cervical cancer detection utilize a proprietary cancer detection platform while the operating software and probe technology are unique to each device. The cancer detection platform was developed by the BC Cancer Agency and tested and refined on approximately 1,000 lesions at the Skin Care Centre at Vancouver General Hospital. This exclusive platform technology allows Verisante to develop and offer a range of compact, non-invasive cancer detection devices that offer physicians’ immediate results for many of the most common cancers. The Core™ has not yet been approved for sale.
The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved of the contents of this press release. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

Company Contact                       
Thomas Braun, President & CEO                   
Verisante Technology, Inc.                   
Telephone: (604) 605-0507                   

B-roll and Photos
B-roll footage and high-res photos of the Verisante Aura are available. Please contact Mahafrine Petigara at (604) 623-3007 or to access them. 

Forward Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding the future commercialization of medical devices, the market demand for these products and the proprietary protections the Company will obtain with regard to the technology, all of which statements are subject to market risks, and the possibility that the Company will not be able to obtain patent protection or obtain sufficient customer demand. These statements are made based upon current expectations and actual results may differ from those projected due to a number of risks and uncertainties.

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