The onset of technological marvels that encompass the potential to reform lives, industries, and even global economies, has given strong hope to humankind – the kind of hope that is required in testing times like these.
Innovation in the technological space is even more pivotal when the application of that technology concerns the healthcare sector. Meeting the parameters of flawless accuracy, safety, and accessibility is paramount.
This edition, 10 Best Companies in Medical Aesthetics Industry, 2021, explores the application of innovative tech in the aesthetics niche, and brings into spotlight, the companies that strive to conceive this technology.
In this endeavor, we came across Aerolase Corp, which is on a mission to empower every skin health professional to help every patient to love their skin by creating unmatched in-office results.
In the following interview, Dr. Pavel Efremkin, Ph.D., the Founder and CEO of Aerolase shares with us valuable insights into the medical aesthetics industry, the company’s journey so far, his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, and his vision for the company’s future.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief our audience about Aerolase, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the laser skin health niche.
Aerolase is a global technology leader in laser skin health and the only manufacturer in the world of portable high-power lasers for dermatology and aesthetics applications. Through patented and otherwise proprietary advances, our lasers deliver significant advantages to patients, healthcare practitioner, and the healthcare system.
For patients, Aerolase lasers significantly improve treatment outcomes, safety, and patient experience for all skin types – whereas conventional lasers are problematic for any darker skin tones and tanned light skin. They minimize patient discomfort, and downtime.
Patient-pleasing contactless treatment is integral to Aerolase laser technology (#NoTouchAerolase), providing the safest and most hygienic device-based treatment for medical aesthetics, which naturally is in high demand in a COVID world.
For physicians, who in the U.S. are increasingly challenged by managed care reimbursement pressures, we enable them to practice modern medicine profitably. Among a host of advantages, a single Aerolase laser efficaciously treats most widespread dermatological and aesthetic conditions including acne, melasma, psoriasis, onychomycosis, and wound healing in addition to a full suite of skin aesthetic and rejuvenation.
For example, our Neo Elite® improves 36 FDA-cleared face and body indications. Many treatments are patient-paid rather than flowing through managed care, and others are reimbursed at reasonable rates.
We are proud to make the healthcare system more efficacious and cost-effective. Clinical studies have shown that on average, Neo® patients rapidly enjoy a 30% reduction in their skin concerns per treatment compared with waiting 3-6 months for medications and topical skin care alone. And our lasers avoid the serious safety risks that commonly used medications do in treatment of acne or psoriasis and others.
Birth defects, liver disorders, elevated risk of life-threatening infections such as HIV and tuberculosis; many others. Again, the pandemic environment and side effects of immunosuppressant meds have heightened concerns and made us an even more preferred solution.
Tell us more about your products and services which make your company stand out from the competition.
Regarding treatment range, Aerolase treats both aesthetic and medical issues, whereas rival derm device players treat predominately aesthetic only.
Re-geographical scope, Aerolase is by far the best positioned in the industry to penetrate emerging markets, owing to a number of unique product/technology advantages. Our lasers seldom break down thanks to the structural advantage in our patented air-based design vs. water-cooled for all competition.
The mechanical subsystems are the chronic trouble points plaguing other lasers – but Aerolase has done away with them! In the rare instance of a service issue, the device is easily overnight-shipped for repair and then back to the customer – instead of the usual weeks of downtime required by on-site field service, which causes lost revenue to the practitioner.
So that ease of service plus our unique parameters enabling efficacy and safety on skin of color make us the clear best solution for emerging markets. Indeed, we are dominant #1 market share in the Caribbean region and certain other countries which, though small markets, are the microcosm of what we will be accomplishing soon in Brazil, India, and China, once we complete our growth equity raise.
Aerolase is also different because doctors and patients are truly delighted with us, whereas laser and derm device companies typically carry some mighty heavy baggage due to historical issues of underperformance and pain.
For practitioners, Aerolase provides the highest practitioner ROI. Countless testimonials attest to it. Aerolase has the extremely high 96 NPS—Net Promoter Score—based on practitioner survey work. From the patient standpoint, Aerolase has the rare 100% ‘Worth It’ rating in RealSelf, the definitive consumer forum, and was just named by iconic Cosmopolitan as the Best Facial Laser in its Holy Grail Beauty Awards. Facts like these are why Aerolase has industry-leading social media presence with both practitioners and consumers, above that of larger peers in the space.
Dr. Efremkin, please brief us about your journey as the founder and CEO of Aerolase.
Through the lens of my serial entrepreneur background, I saw a vast unmet need for a single, miniaturized, and easy-to-use dermatology laser capable of performing a wide range of treatments efficaciously and safely.
It struck me how dermatology and aesthetic lasers historically came to market through a process of adapting different existing technologies, mostly from industrial applications for single-use applications. So, I partnered and assembled a team of talented laser expert engineers to make my vision a reality.
We chose a new path for our technology to profoundly streamline the then-prevailing awkward design with our unique and innovative air-based system. This was much like the transformation effected by Tesla making the electrical motor drive system as efficient for the car as a combustion engine. We studied all the advanced research on the medical effects of lights and developed better new treatment protocols. We chose our unique path and did not compromise.
A further unique stop in my MedTech industry journey is my decision to have Aerolase scrupulously adhere to promoting only treatments in which we have the best efficacy or equal to gold standard plus with other big advantages. We shun the common industry pursuit of commercial gain by force-fitting new products into applications to which they are ill-suited. The trust of the healthcare community Aerolase has garnered in this manner is invaluable.
What is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global MedTech sector, and what challenges did you face during the initial phase of the pandemic?
Given reduced procedure volumes and intensified patient safety concerns, the pandemic raised the bar on side effect avoidance, hygiene, and ROI to the practitioner. Fortunately, Aerolase shines in those attributes. Therefore, we gained market share during the peak COVID period, and absolute unit and dollar volumes are back up dramatically.
In fact, reflecting the sustained drivers of aesthetic industry growth e.g., the universal quest to be attractive and desired, Aerolase volumes are up sharply over 2019 as well as snapped back from 2020.
In the early pandemic, we had to decide whether to cut commercial and staff headcount. To the contrary, we expanded and attracted fine talent from rivals in retreat mode.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI and big data, what is your prediction about the future of the medical devices sector pertaining to skin health area?
Aerolase already has the most thorough per treatment protocol books, helping us deliver the repeatable outcomes as prized by dermatologists and other practitioners. AI will further that. Longer term, in view of our unique versatile treatment range, Aerolase could become a key repository of patient skin data and history. That would add considerable corporate value.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the medical device manufacturing industry?
Don’t be afraid to “ask stupid questions” and challenge the status quo. We questioned why dermatology lasers were costly narrow-application stationery behemoths, and successfully developed a much better way, free of the industrial laser heritage shackling the industry.
At the same time, recognize that some parties will always be naysayers or doubters, because of the “too good to be true” syndrome. Do not allow such “groupthink” or vested interests to derail your mission.
How do you envision on scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
Despite established technology leadership and users in 51 countries, Aerolase is underpenetrated, and aggressively expanding our proven business model is Job #1 in 2021 and beyond. Expanding our sales organization in the U.S. and Canada is the immediate priority.
With the recent April 2021 approval of the new updated CE Mark, Aerolase will fully enter the 500M+ European market where we already have a network of delighted users, including prominent experts.
The Middle East, Asia, and Latin America markets will over time be a big win for Aerolase as well, thanks to the unique safety and comfort of Aerolase treatments on skintones of this demographic.
Product development-wise, our active innovation R&D has created a late-stage pipeline of potentially blockbuster products, including feminine and body rejuvenation. Others are peripherals that revolutionize the standard of care for hygiene in laser procedures and add per treatment recurring income to our revenue streams. In line with industry trends, we expect almost 50 percent of our revenue to come from recurring revenue by 2025.
We are also in discussions with potential partners re exciting synergistic corporate alliances. The convergence of derm pharma and derm devices continues to play out for many deep-seated reasons. We will likely collaborate with them to develop complex combination treatments bringing the best of both approaches to the patient. Some of the alliances alluded to above address that.
The Leader Upfront
At the helm of Aerolase’s ceaseless ascension towards zeniths is Pavel Efremkin, Ph.D., the founder and CEO. He has a 30-year track record of successful entrepreneurship and company building across various industries. He serves on the Industry Advisory Council of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) and on the Industry Advisory Board of the Aesthetic Industry Association (AIA).
Pavel holds many important patents in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in the field of lasers and light for aesthetics and other medical applications. In addition to acquiring advanced science degrees, he completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program in venture capital and private equity.
Aerolase’s industry accolades include:
- Ranked #1 laser for three years in the practitioner poll by DermaScope/Aesthetics International Association
- #1 skin laser by Global Health and Pharma
- Selected as the only laser showcased in the Galderma Global Innovation Center; and cited for excellence an innovation by expert dermatologists and beauty editors in numerous major beauty media articles.
- Aerolase is an Inc. 5000 fastest revenue growth company.