Visioneering Technologies (ASX:VTI) CEO, Dr Stephen Snowdy, discusses its revolutionary contact lenses, size of the market and strategy.
Carolyn Herbert: Hello, I’m Carolyn Herbert for the Finance News Network. Joining me from newly-listed medical device company, Visioneering Technologies (ASX:VTI) is CEO and Executive Director, Dr Stephen Snowdy. Stephen, welcome to Sydney and congratulation on the listing.
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Thank you.
Carolyn Herbert: Can you start with an introduction to Visioneering Technologies?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Visioneering Technologies has developed, and now commercialised, a very special contact lens – a soft daily disposable contact lese for two patient populations. One of those populations are people with presbyopia – people over the age of 40 who have started to lose the ability to see things up-close. The other population is children with near sightedness. The company received its first institutional funding in 2008. It started the process of perfecting the technology in 2014, receiving its FDA clearance. In 2015, we did a pilot launch of theproduct which resulted in far greater demand for the product than we could supply with our then-limited infrastructure. In 2016, we started looking at the process of raising funds in Australia and here we are today.
Carolyn Herbert: Now to your listing, how much did you raise and what is your market cap?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: $33.3 million is what we raised. We came out to the market with a fully diluted market cap of $88 million, but I understand it’s higher than that now.
Carolyn Herbert: Very good, so where will the funds be going?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Most of the funds will be used for expansion of our sales and marketing effort. Again, we’ve already upscaled our manufacturing. We’ve built the infrastructure that would allow for the primary use of funds of the IPO to strictly go towards sales and marketing expansion.
Carolyn Herbert:And Stephen, now to the opportunity – what is your strategy and size of the market?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Well the proceeds of the IPO will allow us to rapidly and aggressively expand our salesforce. We’ll be expanding our salesforce to the tune of about 40 new sales representatives over the next 12 months. This will allow us to get a much larger footprint in the United States. The opportunity in the US for the two patient populations that I mentioned (presbyopia and paediatric myopia) amounts to about a $5 billion opportunity – just in the US alone. In terms of international expansion, of course there’s a lot of uptake that goes on top of that US opportunity.
Carolyn Herbert:Why did you decide to list in Australia?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: There’s a very nice, neat fit between the attributes one would use to describe the stage at which Visioneering is, and the attributes that Australian medical device investors are looking for. Those attributes would be an FDA cleared product, a test launch having been completed, and an infrastructure in place such that the IPO proceeds could primarily be used for the expansion of sales, instead of research and development.
Carolyn Herbert: Do you plan to offer your contact lenses in Australia?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: We do. Our primary focus is on the US at this time, but we are working right now on the regulatory approvals it would take to go into Europe and Australia. We plan to have those regulatory approvals done by the end of 2017.
Carolyn Herbert:Your pilot launch for your contact lenses in the US was very successful. Does this give you faith in your growth plans?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Quite a bit of faith in our growth plans! The purpose of the pilot launch was to determine how things would look if we launched on a much wider scale. Again, we were very happy with the result of that – with demand far outstripping what we could supply. So we are very confident now that we have the structure in place, and the demand in place, to do a much broader launch.
Carolyn Herbert:Finally Stephen, what isyour focus for the next 12 months, and your long-term ambition for the company?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: The focus for the next 12 months will be grow, grow, grow. As we said, we’ll be on boarding40 more sales representatives to cover the US. That’s quite a bit of growth to swallow. It will keep us busy for a long time. And longer term, we’d like to be an internationallyrecognisedcontact lens provider.
Carolyn Herbert:Dr Stephen Snowdy, thanks for your time, and congratulations on the listing.
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Thank you so much.