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ASGE Foundation Establishes Olympus Endowment Fund for Research and Public Education

Oak Brook, Ill., April 20, 2007 - The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Foundation announced that it has received a $1 million grant from Olympus America Inc., Center Valley, Pennsylvania, to endow the Olympus Endowment Fund. The Fund will establish a permanent funding source for research in gastrointestinal endoscopy and patient and public education initiatives.

ASGE and the ASGE Foundation promote ongoing research in gastrointestinal endoscopy and its applications to disease management and prevention to ultimately improve the quality of endoscopy delivered to patients. The ASGE Foundation also funds important educational initiatives aimed at explaining the role of endoscopy in digestive health to the public.

"Our mission, as the global leader in endoscopy, is to improve the lives of millions of people who have diagnostic or therapeutic procedures performed by healthcare professionals around the world. We are pleased to create this endowment to support ongoing research in GI endoscopy as well as public education initiatives, and are proud to continue working in close partnership with the ASGE and ASGE Foundation to make the endowment possible," said F. Mark Gumz, President and COO of Olympus America.

ASGE applauds Olympus' commitment to and leadership within the field of gastrointestinal endoscopy. As a manufacturer of state-of-the-art imaging technology, Olympus has been a natural corporate partner for ASGE, a society which shares in Olympus' mission to advance the state of patient care in the field of GI endoscopy. This year, Olympus has committed a total of $2.2 million of funding in support of the ASGE Foundation. In addition to the $1 million grant, Olympus has provided nearly $700,000 to support other ASGE and ASGE Foundation initiatives such as physician education courses, GI endoscopic research and public education. Olympus also provided $500,000 in March 2007 to support the Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research (NOSCAR™); a joint initiative supported by ASGE and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). NOSCAR™ grants funds to support fundamental research in an emerging transdisciplinary therapy known as Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery™ (NOTES™), an approach that could ultimately represent a major paradigm shift in minimally invasive therapy and patient care.

"ASGE and the ASGE Foundation are most grateful for the Olympus Endowment which provides a permanent source of funding for important research projects and public education initiatives. ASGE Foundation-funded research ultimately improves the quality of endoscopy we provide patients. And, through public education, we continue to help patients understand the role of endoscopy in digestive health," said Francis J. Tedesco, MD, FASGE, Chair of the ASGE Foundation.

The Olympus Endowment Fund will enhance ASGE's ability to expand future endoscopic research opportunities and public education related to the prevention, diagnosis and endoscopic treatment of diseases of the digestive tract (which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine [or "small bowel"], large intestine [also called "large bowel" or "colon"], liver, pancreas, and gall bladder. ASGE physicians have highly specialized training in endoscopic procedures of the digestive tract.

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About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Founded in 1941, the mission of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) is to be the leader in advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. Physicians and surgeons who are members of ASGE have highly specialized training in endoscopic procedures of the digestive tract. ASGE, with more than 9,500 physician members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit www.asge.org and www.screen4coloncancer.org for more information.

About Olympus Medical Systems Group
Olympus Medical Systems Group provides endoscopy knowledge and solutions that enable healthcare professionals in GI hospital suites, ambulatory surgical centers and private practices to achieve excellent clinical and financial outcomes across the continuum of care. Olympus offers diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopes and EndoTherapy accessories; service and repair solutions; web-based endoscopy information products; GI lab integration services; cleaning and disinfection products and services; cost-effective financial solutions; and consulting services.

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products.

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes; Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.