updated 9/14/2010 3:45:36 AM ET 2010-09-14T07:45:36

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 13, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Conceptus Inc. (Nasdaq:CPTS), developer of the Essure(R) procedure, the most effective non-surgical permanent birth control method available, has entered into a mutually exclusive agreement with VirtaMed AG as its exclusive supplier for virtual reality training of the hysteroscopic procedure that deploys Essure. The establishment of this strategic partnership will enable Conceptus to be the only company in the field of hysteroscopic permanent birth control with a photorealistic, high fidelity VirtaMed training simulator.

In 2009 Conceptus and VirtaMed collaborated to develop a highly-realistic simulator to improve gynecologist training. The resulting EssureSim™ simulator refines physicians' skills, enhances patient outcomes and results in a more satisfying experience for both the patient and physician. The operator learns how to use the angled optics of the hysteroscope to establish a clear view of the uterus and properly deploy Essure in just seconds. The EssureSimTM was presented for the first time at the European Society of Gynecologic Endoscopy congress in October 2009.

"The EssureSim is the latest innovation in our drive to make Essure the standard of care. Our advising clinicians were thrilled when they experienced how well the simulator replicates procedure reality," said Mark Sieczkarek, president and chief executive officer of Conceptus. "We have always prided ourselves on providing the market's most effective permanent birth control product and delivering state-of the-art training.  The EssureSim is further proof of our market leadership."

Stefan Tuchschmid, CEO VirtaMed AG believes the simulator will also support Conceptus in its efforts to move the Essure procedure from the operation room to a physician's office.  "Since the patient is not under general anesthesia in an office environment, a skilled approach is crucial. During the simulated intervention, a unique patient comfort scale aids in learning optimal hysteroscopy skills. With the virtual reality hands-on training, physicians can gain additional experience by performing ten or more virtual procedures in less than an hour."

The exclusive agreement is a clear competitive advantage for Essure in the permanent birth control market. The systems are portable, providing the opportunity to differentiate Essure in competitive situations such as trade shows, resident programs and clinician training programs. Conceptus has purchased multiple simulators and plans to expand availability in both the United States and overseas. 

About the Essure Procedure:

The Essure procedure, FDA approved since 2002, is the first permanent birth control method that can be performed in the comfort of a physician's office in less than 10 minutes (average hysteroscopic time) without hormones, cutting, burning or the risks associated with general anesthesia or tubal ligation. Soft, flexible inserts are placed in a woman's fallopian tubes through the cervix without incisions. Over the next three months, the body forms a natural barrier around the micro-inserts to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Essure is 99.8% effective based on four years of follow up with zero pregnancies reported in clinical trials, making it the most effective form of permanent birth control on the market. The procedure is covered by most insurance plans, and when it is performed in a doctor's office the cost to the patient may be as low as a simple co-pay.

Three months after the Essure procedure, a doctor is able to perform an Essure Confirmation Test to confirm that the inserts are properly placed and the fallopian tubes are fully blocked, giving the patient reliance on Essure for permanent birth control. Essure has been proven and trusted by physicians since 2002, with more than 435,000 women worldwide having undergone the Essure procedure.

About Conceptus, Inc.:

Conceptus, Inc. is a leader in the design, development and marketing of innovative solutions in women's healthcare. The Company manufactures and markets Essure permanent birth control. The Essure procedure is available in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Middle East.

Please visit www.essure.com for more information on the Essure procedure. Patients may call the Essure Information Center at 1-877-ESSURE-1 with questions or to find a physician in their area.

The Conceptus, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7961

About VirtaMed AG:

VirtaMed AG, Zurich, is a Swiss company with an interdisciplinary background in medicine and engineering. Its mission is to develop state-of-the-art training tools for endoscopic surgery of highest possible realism, all with the ultimate goal to improve the quality of patient care. The innovative virtual reality simulators provide instructional teaching and training of different diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic interventions. The first simulator has been developed at the ETH Zurich and other Swiss universities as part of a large research effort involving 16 PhD students for a combined 24 years of research. Today, many teaching institutions and medical device companies use VirtaMed's simulators globally for education and hands-on training.

Please visit www.virtamed.com for more information about VirtaMed.

For global distribution to hospitals and training centers, VirtaMed is proud to work together with Simbionix USA Corporation in order to provide the best possible customer support. For sales information of HystSimTM, EssureSimTM and TURPSimTM, contact Simbionix USA Corp at +1-866-SIMBIONIX or visit only at www.simbionix.com .

© 2010 Conceptus, Inc -- All rights reserved. Conceptus, Essure and Your Family is Complete. Your Choice is Clear are registered trademarks and service marks of Conceptus, Inc.

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