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Classys accelerates medical treatment accessibility

Interview - March 27, 2024

Classys is poised to extend its success beyond current territories, setting ambitious targets for Europe and beyond. Not content with existing triumphs in Australia and the CIS countries, the company now looks to penetrate untapped markets, including the Middle East, emphasizing convenience, cost-effectiveness, and innovation to meet unmet needs and unlock the explosive potential of these burgeoning markets.

MR. SEUNG HAN BAEK, CEO OF CLASSYS
MR. SEUNG HAN BAEK | CEO OF CLASSYS

South Korea currently faces a unique demographic situation. On top of becoming the world’s first country to see its fertility rate fall below 1.0, experts estimate that by 2025, more than 25% of the South Korean population will be over the age of 65, turning the nation into one of the first super-aging societies in the world. How does this aging population impact the beauty sector?

Two noteworthy trends are currently shaping our business landscape: well-being and anti-aging. The anti-aging trend is propelled by an extended lifespan, giving rise to new demands not only in Korea but also globally. Presently, we are observing the emergence of the well-aging trend, which seamlessly combines these two influential trends.

The evolving trend of well-aging, driven by the increasing aging population, signifies a shift in individuals allocating more time to self-care, resulting in a corresponding surge in consumer spending. In contrast to the past, where investments were predominantly directed towards areas like real estate, people now display a stronger inclination to invest in maintaining their health and beauty, especially as they age.

In the medical aesthetic field, the introduction of Energy Based Devices (EBD) has made patients’ revisit rates increase. EBD, recognized for minimal pain, effectiveness, and low side effects, boasts an impressive high revisit rate, creating an appealing business environment, particularly as the elderly population continues to grow. This characteristic contributes to exponential growth.

However, it is crucial to note that not all medical aesthetic services share these characteristics. Within the aesthetic field, there is a specific emphasis on services that offer low pain and improved accessibility. The high-tech segment, as exemplified by Classys-led technologies, underscores energy-based devices with low pain and high cost-effectiveness. Therefore, services that are easily accessible in daily life, coupled with high technological standards, result in a significantly higher revisit rate after a single experience, propelling the market to grow at a faster pace than anticipated.



The medical aesthetics industry is undergoing an exciting transformation. Swift advancements in technology and treatment innovations, coupled with a more informed patient base, are fueling the evolution of anti-aging solutions. Traditional surgical procedures are waning in popularity, while less-invasive alternatives like PDO threads, regenerative aesthetics utilizing stem cells, and skin rejuvenation through laser devices are gaining traction. What technologies do you consider to be the most innovative? How do you foresee the evolution of non-invasive treatment evolving?

In Korea and around the world, plastic surgery has always enjoyed popularity. However, there are pain points and unresolved issues associated with it. Firstly, although the results of plastic surgery can dramatically improve appearance, they are often perceived as unnatural. Secondly, the procedure comes with a significant cost. Thirdly, there are risks associated with anesthesia, and in cases of mishaps, serious problems can arise. Additionally, the presence of side effects and a long recovery period poses challenges.

Due to these reasons, minimal-invasive procedures like thread lifting and botox, which hold various advantages, are becoming more popular. However, addressing the mentioned pain points and unmet needs in the field of plastic surgery has limitations.

As a response to these challenges, the trend is expected to evolve towards more natural, less painful, economically feasible, and convenient procedures. Economic considerations are crucial not only for patient satisfaction but also for clinics to generate revenue. To achieve this, efficient clinics that operate effectively in terms of time, space, and expertise are essential. This will play a crucial role in the mass adoption of procedures and in connecting with consumers. Additionally, in the medical industry, there is an emphasis on specialized education, and a trend is expected where general practitioners can easily perform procedures.

Among energy-based devices, technologies like High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), Radiofrequency (RF), and micro-needling hold advantages in terms of minimal pain and excellent characteristics. Beyond that, emerging trends involve combining these devices with drugs. While Drug Delivery System (DDS) solutions exist, there is a need for more options. Consequently, non-invasive yet more effective methods are expected to advance through the combination of devices and drugs.

However, the issue, as mentioned earlier, lies in the fact that both HIFU and RF procedures are painful. Consequently, they were conducted separately, requiring anesthesia. Additionally, the cost for each procedure is notably high. Therefore, for a patient aiming to undergo these procedures simultaneously in one location, the expenses are not only substantial but also involve a considerable amount of time, anesthesia administration, awakening, and the potential for separate side effects, as discussed earlier.

With technological advancements, this scenario changes. For instance, if anesthesia is no longer necessary, there won't be a need for an anesthesia specialist. Furthermore, the time before and after the procedure could be reduced to 30 minutes even if both HIFU and RF were performed together. If the procedure speed significantly increases, the cost could be cut by half or even one-third of the original price, a highly favorable scenario for both doctors and patients.

In the case of Japan, anesthesia is now mandatory starting from 2023. Previously, anyone could administer anesthesia, but this is no longer allowed. General practitioners are now prohibited from administering anesthesia. The implication is that if there are procedures that can be performed without it, quickly and lucratively, they won't require many doctors, spaces, or time – the three factors mentioned earlier. If general practitioners can perform these procedures, this trend is expected to shape the next five years.

 

Korea is a pioneer in creating innovative treatments and protocols, which are often not found in foreign countries. Consequently, there's a need to educate the market. This involves not only convincing practitioners to adopt these new technologies but also persuading the general population about their efficacy. How do you overcome this challenge?

The promotion of new technologies to practitioners and to consumers is essential. We propose two primary methods for this promotion.

Firstly, we leverage academic conferences and exhibitions as platforms for interaction and knowledge sharing. Since last year, we have substantially increased our participation in such events. Our focus is on the dissemination of new technology through scientific workshops, seminars, academies, and conference. In fact, we've tripled our event hosting efforts, including workshops, web-based shareable events, and user group meetings in various countries.

Secondly, it's crucial to create and share evidence that supports these trends. This task can be challenging for domestic manufacturers, as global evidence must be made applicable domestically. To address this, we are partnering with global key influencers, leaders, and scientists to create evidence. We have appointed ambassadors in each country, increased their numbers from 20 to 30, and collaborated with them to generate evidence. We also share articles and papers, part of our Classys Scientific Leadership initiative.

From a B2C perspective, we've seen significant domestic success through educational efforts, thanks to the development of digital marketing and the rise of social networking. This success has led to a spontaneous viral phenomenon, with users sharing their experiences and causing an immense increase in yearly sharing counts. We communicate with domestic consumers through Google Trends and Naver Trends, which influence their decision-making process. Most of consumers proactively choose trendy procedures. Internationally, we are implementing B2C marketing campaigns that encourage consumers to make decisions based on doctor recommendations, and we promote these campaigns through social media cooperation with major countries. During our events, we invite journalists from abroad. A digital marketing expert from each clinic covers the event and broadcasts it in real-time on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

As for new product launches, our goal is to achieve the highest installation count within three years, based on market share in each country. Countries that have recently launched new products have seen an overwhelming increase in installation count. Although European countries are yet to launch, we anticipate similar success based on the performance of existing products. However, detailed strategies are required for European countries due to regulatory approval challenges. We are currently developing collaboration strategies for Europe and the Middle East, with the aim of achieving the top market share in European countries.

Our launch events have spurred explosive growth. All hosting countries have seen remarkable results, and even though European countries face challenges, we anticipate growth. Countries such as Brazil, Thailand, Japan, Australia, and Korea have experienced this explosive growth.

We have already identified strong partners in each country, and we plan to expedite the implementation of the Medical Device Regulation (MDR), initially scheduled for 2025, to 2024 for the European launch. Therefore, we expect to gain approval in Europe shortly.

We are devising marketing strategies to become the number one in terms of installation rates. We host launch events before product launches, which have led to explosive growth. In fact, all countries that have hosted launch events have seen great results. Despite the challenges in European countries, we expect success. Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, and Korea have all experienced this explosive growth.



In light of the upcoming launch in Europe, could you please provide us with a quick overview of how your technology has evolved to enhance the results and efficacy? Specifically, what are the advantages of Ultraformer MPT compared to its predecessor, Ultraformer 3?"
Above all, the treatment has become more effective as we now target 200 TCP (Thermal coagulation Points) per shot, compared to the previous method that targeted only 17 points, allowing us to deliver energy more finely. This makes the treatment more intensive.

Additionally, the previous model delivered energy in one direction, so we had to move back to continue the treatment, but the new model delivers energy bidirectionally, targeting 200 points going forth and 200 points going back.

In addition, we have introduced both a dot mode and a linear mode, making the treatment more intensive and effective with finer TCP.

Another significant improvement is the reduction in treatment time. Previously, it used to take 8 to 10 minutes, but now it only takes 2 to 3 minutes. Despite using the same amount of energy to target 200 points compared to the previous 17 points, it brings a less painful experience and a more detailed effect

We have also adopted a circular method, which allows for smoother treatment, including in the vaginal area. This new method has expanded the application of the treatment. Previously, there were difficulties when using the linear method, but with the circular method, we can treat a variety of areas more easily.

To improve convenience, we now have two handpieces. We attach two handpieces and use whichever one is needed. If body treatment is required, we prepare the body handpiece and provide body treatment as well. This greatly enhances the convenience of the facility, and the satisfaction level has increased with the use of one device.

Furthermore, we have expanded the range of handpiece cartridges. Previously, there were 1.5mm, 3.0mm, and 4.5mm, but now 2mm, 6mm and 9mm cartridges have been added. With a single device, we can now treat the entire body, including the abdomen and thighs. This is beneficial for both patients and doctors, as there is no longer a need for multiple devices.

Previously, there are only two handpieces, but now there are three. This enables us to use line type handpieces for 7 cartridges and a circular type for 3 cartridges, providing a less painful experience for patients, while achieving better results and higher satisfaction. Importantly, the price has not increased despite these improvements.

The treatment can be completed quickly with a shot, which minimizes pain for patients. The fast treatment duration contributes to high patient satisfaction, and from the doctor's perspective, it is incredibly convenient. The speed of the treatment allows many network hospitals to operate efficiently. In Korea and Japan, there are many large network hospitals. In today's fast-paced world, time is valuable. By doubling the speed of the treatment, doctors can see patients twice as fast or increase the number of treatments. This brings great benefits to doctors and creates significant opportunities for revenue generation. When we launched the treatment in Korea last year, there was such high demand that our production was overwhelmed. We experienced a similar phenomenon when we launched in Brazil and Thailand. The treatment has received an explosive response, and people truly love it. We have once again addressed unmet needs, all without raising our prices.

Volnewmer is a product that is more innovative than the existing Ultraformer MPT. It incorporates our highly beneficial and patented technologies. While many competitive RF products are being released by domestic manufacturers, Volnewmer stands out due to its superior efficacy, safety, and patient satisfaction. The key differentiating factor is that we did not adopt outdated RF technology, which are still being used by current devices, and have embraced complete innovation.

In the past, the primary goal of RF was collagen regeneration, which is achieved by raising the temperature to 60 degrees in the targeted area. However, this approach required raising the temperature significantly, resulting in various side effects such as burning and skin necrosis. To address these issues, dramatic cooling methods like gas cooling were employed to rapidly raise and lower the temperature. While this approach had advantages, it also led to many side effects.

However, the scientific basis we have found suggests that collagen regeneration at the reticular dermis only requires a temperature increase to 55 degrees, leading to irreversible changes. On the other hand, the papillary dermis, located just below the epidermis, only needs to be raised to a temperature between 40 and 45 degrees for the regeneration of a different type of collagen, such as type 3 collagen, which is relevant to baby's skin and is abundant in younger layers. There is no need to raise the temperature to 60 degrees for this purpose. Our focus is to target these two layers and stimulate the regeneration of different types of collagens.

The reason we are able to achieve this is through our unique cooling method. Instead of raising the temperature to high levels, we utilize a technique called continuous hydra contact cooling system. By continuously circulating water and applying contact cooling, we have the advantage of not requiring anesthesia. In fact, we advise against using anesthesia. It is not necessary. However, depending on the doctor's preference, anesthesia may be used if there is a need to significantly raise the temperature. But in our case, anesthesia is not required. I have personally experienced it, and I can assure you that anesthesia is unnecessary. Our treatment is also safe. Very safe, in fact.

Unlike conventional methods that involve temperature fluctuations and can result in skin burns and long downtime, our technology eliminates these issues. It is actually recommended in all guidelines not to use anesthesia, but some doctors still opt for it because of the potential pain. However, we have resolved all these concerns with our technology. Therefore, we offer a very different approach based on scientific principles, without any side effects or downtime, and without the need for anesthesia. Moreover, the treatment is fast. It also has a medium-term effect on collagen regeneration, acting on the collagen within the skin and at its roots, providing comprehensive effectiveness.

Based on this technology, we have been able to quickly address the unmet needs of our customers and to continuously upgrade our offerings. This is why I believe Classys is receiving a lot of love from customers, not only from end users but also from general practitioners who find our equipment easy to use. There are many aspects that I couldn't cover in this explanation, but whether it's the user interface or the design, we prioritize customer convenience and safety, even when developing a single handpiece. As a result, our philosophies have resonated not only in the domestic market but also in countries like Brazil, where we are performing exceptionally well.

We have achieved success in countries where we have launched our products, including Australia and CIS countries, which gives us great confidence in the European market as well. The reason behind this is our significant improvement in terms of customer convenience and accessibility. We have made it easy for customers to approach our treatments in various ways, ensuring their comfort, providing competitive pricing, and delivering effective results. This has been greatly beneficial for doctors as well, which has led to an increasing number of people embracing our technology and actively seeking our treatments. We firmly believe in our approach.

Therefore, our goal is not just for Classys to succeed, but also for the industry as a whole to experience accelerated growth due to the high level of understanding and acceptance of these treatments. While the market is estimated to be growing at a rate of 12% per year, we believe it may be even larger in reality. As new technologies are introduced and trends are set, more and more people are revisiting these treatments.

Classys contributes to the rapid expansion of the market. We have the same expectations for Europe, and beyond that, there are many advanced countries where we have yet to establish a strong presence. We are also closely monitoring attractive opportunities in the Middle East, where there is a significant presence of high-level customers and doctors, although the market may already be saturated with legacy products. Our strategy is to address the unmet needs of these markets, provide convenience to customers, and offer cost-effective solutions. We believe that this strategy will allow us to unleash the explosive potential of these markets.

With the growing trend of well-aging, I firmly believe that Classys is a remarkable company that can thrive and grow alongside the market.


For more details, explore their website at https://classys.com/

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