Wow … we just jump from show to show to show … from CES to NAMM – and now Photonics West. Sure there isn’t all that much overlap, but each of these shows are rather interesting to me. I haven’t heard much specific technology news of interest from Photonics yet, but today we learned that LaserLeap Technologies has won the 2012 Biophotonics Start-up Challenge based on their new ‘transdermal drug delivery’ system.
[LaserLeap CEO] Serpa’s winning pitch detailed a proprietary laser device that has been developed to aid drug delivery through the skin. The pulsed laser is used to generate high-frequency ultrasound, which is said to painlessly create a temporary perforation in a patient’s skin – allowing medicine or cosmetics to be delivered effectively before the perforation closes up again after a couple of minutes.
According to Serpa, the market for so-called transdermal drugs is approximately 3% of the huge global pharmaceuticals market – equivalent to around $13 billion.
He sees three major markets for the LaserLeap approach – therapeutic, analgesic and cosmetic – with cosmetic applications the initial target market for the company.
So far, LaserLeap has developed prototype devices, and one attractive aspect to the judging panel was the potential for the company to adopt a “razor blade” business model by selling both the laser and the disposable devices that convert a laser pulse into ultrasonic waves.
Reading the list of runners-up reveals the amazing range of technological applications of lasers and photonics in a variety of fields, as well as the rapid advancement of the field from theory to commercial applications.