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Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group Announces Availability of High Sensitivity CRP Reagents for Cardiac Risk Assessement

(July 30, 2002) Melville, NY - Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group today announced market release of its new High Sensitivity C-Reative Protein (CRP) reagents, optimized for use on Olympus AU400e™, AU600™, AU640e™, AU2700™ and AU5400™ chemistry-immuno analyzers. The news, announced at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry annual meeting in Florida, follows Olympus recent announcement of its new HDL/LDL reagent line, giving clinical laboratories a single source for a full cardiac risk assessment panel.

High sensitivity CRP gives physicians the ability to assess the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease before a traumatic event, such as heart attack or stroke. The test detects levels of C-Reactive Protein as low as 0.5 mg/L; much lower than conventional CRP assays used historically as a general test for inflammation. CRP levels are being evaluated as predictors of risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly since inflammation within the arteries occurs in plaque formation that eventually narrows the arteries, a process known as arteriosclerosis. Recent studies have indicated that elevation of CRP levels in the "normal range" may be a more specific indicator for risk than cholesterol or lipid abnormalities. Although precise reference values are yet to be established, CRP values as low as 1.5 mg/L may be clinically significant. The Olympus assay has demonstrated minimal interference from lipemia, bilirubin and hemolysis.

Using Olympus technology, labs may run the assay on their primary clinical chemistry analyzer without the need for a separate nephelometer or heterogeneous immunoassay analyzer. This has broad implications for making the test more readily available in hospital-based, physician group practice, commercial and hospital core laboratories.

"Our goal is to enhance patient care by bringing the best information to the physician quickly," said Steve Wasserman, Vice President, Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group. "Now that it's been cleared by the FDA, the assay can be run in low to very high volume labs on our AU400e, AU600, AU640e, AU2700 and AU5400 models. These systems have broad application throughout the healthcare delivery market."

About Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group
Since 1981, Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group has provided innovative solutions that meet the high productivity demands of hospitals, integrated healthcare delivery networks, reference labs, blood banks and pharmaceutical labs. Offering the broadest standardized line of random access, chemistry-immuno analyzers and lab automation systems, Olympus' solutions save laboratories time, maximize productivity and deliver fast, reliable results.

Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group also offers rapid response technical support nationwide through Olympus Technical Services. Service and support are available to customers seven days a week, 24 hours a day, by calling 1-800-223-0130. From telephone troubleshooting and remote modem diagnostics…on-site customer training and service for hardware, software, application support…as well as training and field support at Olympus' Irving, Texas facility…Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group provides comprehensive customer-tailored solutions to ensure maximum system uptime with reliable results.

About Olympus America Inc.
Based in Melville, NY, Olympus America Inc. distributes a wide range of products that leverage its core expertise in optical and digital technologies for the consumer, scientific, healthcare and commercial markets. These products include film and digital cameras, microcassette and digital voice recorders, binoculars, film scanners, personal photo printers, medical endoscopes, biological and metallurgical microscopes and measuring instruments, clinical diagnostic analyzers and other high-technology products. Olympus America Inc. is responsible for sales, marketing, and distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Olympus America Inc. is a subsidiary of Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.