Interview Conducted By: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine
CEOCFO: Mr. Datovech, what is the focus for LKC Technologies today?
Mr. Datovech: We are an ophthalmic device manufacturing company. We design, develop and sell ophthalmic devices using visual electrophysiology technology, which is a functional assessment of the retina, the optic nerve and visual cortex depending on the protocol used.
CEOCFO: How do you decide what to work on?
Mr. Datovech: Basically, there are a couple of ways. The first way is there is a society called the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision, ISCEV, that publishes a series of standard protocols that are used to perform visual electrophysiology testing. Our devices basically conform to the specifications of ISCEV. Then we look at major unmet health diseases such as diabetic eye disease, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema and vascular macular degeneration, glaucoma; major eye diseases that cause major health difficulties that really impact healthcare systems in spending around the world. We ask if there is a way we can apply this technology to assist in managing those disease states either from aiding and diagnosing to management of treatment, to assessing length of treatment, and how we can apply this technology to those diseases to improve the outcomes for patients around the world.
CEOCFO: What is the market like? Are many companies in manufacturing and developing or are the two not often together in one organization?
Mr. Datovech: Those companies that are in visual electrophysiology are in the design development manufacturing and sale of the product. Most companies who make a device such as ours do the whole spectrum.
CEOCFO: LKC has been around since 1976. Does it matter when doctors are looking to purchase? Do they look at history?
Mr. Datovech: They look at a lot at history. Those who have experience with LKC understand that our products are known for their longevity, for their service, durability, stability and results over time. Secondly, they know they are going to get exceptional service when they need it on the device. The doctors on the one have I think have the trust and confidence in LKC. This is around the world. Given our longevity in this space, we have a very strong reputation and we are known worldwide even though we are not a large company. Secondly, I think they look for innovations for the ability to diagnose various disease states assisting diagnoses of various disease states, looking for companies that have use devices that have been used in research. In the last five years, the LKC devices have been references in over 400 peer review publications, so I think that people look for those types of affirmation on the quality of the product and also knowing that if they have read peer reviewed publications and want to have similar results, if it were done with our device, they know they are going to get those similar results when they do it on their patients or animal testing.
CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of how your product is better?
Mr. Datovech: If you take our RETeval® product, it is a unique, handheld, fully functioning electrophysiology device. It can test either on eyes that are dilated or undilated. It is the only device in the world that has this patented capability. You can either use an electrode that goes directly on the cornea of the eye or one of our unique and patented sensor strip electrodes that are skin based to fit just under the eye on the cheek and on the side of the head where a side burn is. It is a unique device that has incredible flexibility, portability, can be used invasively or non-invasively everywhere from neonatal up to geriatric use. It is a tremendous product that has expanded the use of electrophysiology, so that is an example.
CEOCFO: Why would a doctor dilate if not necessary?
Mr. Datovech: That is a good question. Some ophthalmologists will say they dilate everyone that comes in anyway because they want to look in the eye, and the RETevaldevice can be used on a dilated eye as protocols that are for dilated eyes. On the other hand, you could have a child who you say you do not know whether you need to have an electrophysiology testing or not, and typically those children are sedated or in an operating room for this type of testing. There has been quite some success of doing testing without dilation and without sedation on children, which is an amazing advancement.
CEOCFO: What new products, concepts and improvements are you working on now?
Mr. Datovech: We are working on two different things. One is we continue to enhance the RETeval product line. There are universities and other companies doing multicenter studies on being able to do differential diagnosis of mental health diseases, using retina responses, because the retina starts out in life as cerebral tissue and then separates off to form the retina and it is truly a window into the brain. Looking at differential diagnoses, there is a multicenter study underway, looking at autism and being able to diagnose it early. There are multicenter studies looking at drug addiction and drug dependencies, so it is not just looking at different retinal diseases but also systemic diseases and mental diseases as well including those as well as traumatic brain injury. We are working on supporting universities and doctors around the world, doing research into these areas. The second is on our flagship product line, UTAS. We are in the process of enhancing that device into Windows 10 technology, advancing our amplifier technology to make the acquisition of these small, electrophysiology signals easier to gain and be more robust. We are looking at having our core technologies as well as the RETeval technologies.