Visioneering Technologies Inc (ASX:VTI) CEO and Executive Director, Dr Stephen Snowdy, provides an update on the company, its latest myopia data results and outlook for FY18.
Jessica Amir: Hi I’m Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network. Joining me now from Visioneering Technologies, Inc (ASX:VTI) is CEO and Executive Director, Dr Stephen Snowdy. Hi Stephen, welcome back.
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Good afternoon Jessica, thank you.
Jessica Amir: First up Stephen. Can you just remind us about what you do at Visioneering Technologies and what makes the company so unique?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Visioneering got started in 2008 and listed in Australia in 2017. We raised $33 million in the Australian IPO. We’re focused on two patient populations with a single product, the first patient population is presbyopia.
Presbyopia patients are patients over the age of 40, who have lost the ability to see up close.
Our other patient population are children with near-sightedness, we call this paediatric myopia. These are children who can see up close, but can’t see distance. It’s a progressive disease that affects 80 to 90 per cent of many Asian countries’ children.
Jessica Amir: Touching on presbyopia with people losing near vision, you’d assume that that’s a pretty massive market. But what’s the opportunity for you?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: It’s actually almost everybody over the age of 40 unfortunately. Nobody escapes from presbyopia, when they get into their 40s. They may be able to see distance fine and they may have correction using glasses, or contacts to see distance, but over the age of 40, we start to lose the ability to see up close. So that patient has a simultaneous need to see distance and near, at the same time.
Unfortunately, the current modalities that are on the market today do not do a very good job of providing that simultaneous, near and distance vision.
The product we have at Visioneering Technologies does a very good job of providing both near and distance vision simultaneously, for the presbyopia patient.
Jessica Amir: Moving to the other area of the market that you’re focused on, paediatric myopia. Why is that an exciting market for you?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: First of all it’s an exciting market, because it’s a very high medical need for children with near-sightedness, or paediatric myopia. 80 to 90 per cent of children in many Asian countries are affected by near-sightedness. And it’s a progressive disease that gets worse and worse for these children, every year. The worst thing of vision though, isn’t the tragic part of paediatric myopia. The tragic part of paediatric myopia, is that these children are exposed to four to 16-fold increase of very serious ocular diseases, as they get older.
The worse the near-sightedness gets, the higher risk they are throughout their entire lives of blinding events, such as retinol detachments, glaucoma and cataracts.
It’s very important to stop the progression of near-sightedness in these children, as early as possible. And today before Visioneering’s contact lenses, there weren’t great ways to do that.
Jessica Amir: Now to sales and marketing. Can you just give us an update on your sales?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Our primary goal right now is to expand our sales and marketing functions and capabilities, and sales themselves. Since the IPO, we’ve had pretty dramatic increases in sales. Our third quarter sales were 90 per cent over second quarter sales, which themselves were 60 per cent over first quarter sales.
We’re seeing very rapid uptake of our products. We’ve hired 20 sales representatives this year, so very rapid expansion of our sales function.
And we’ve increased our manufacturing capacity to meet that demand and the demands of 2018.
Our active accounts, these are accounts or practitioners who have purchased our products in that reporting quarter, increased by 80 per cent in the second quarter, now up to 500 active accounts in the US. We’re very happy with those results.
Jessica Amir: What’s your manufacturing capacity and what’s the forecast demand?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: Of course, in the third quarter with that 90 per cent growth in sales that we experienced, that gets us thinking that we need to make sure that we’re meeting our capacity needs for 2018. So we put a lot of resources into 2017 to make sure that our manufacturing capacity would meet our 2018 needs. And we’ve been very successful in that expansion.
Jessica Amir: So you’ve had some pretty stellar sales. But what else can we look forward to?
Dr Stephen Snowdy: We’ve been laying the groundwork with great vigour in 2017, for international expansion in 2018. Our CE mark with just the regulatory approval that will open Europe for us, is well along the path of approval. We’re very excited about that. We think that consistent with the promises at the IPO, the CE mark is something we’ll see at the end of 2017 early 2018. Once that opens up Europe, it also can open up additional countries such as Australia, Canada and some Southeast Asian nations. So, one thing you should be looking for from Visioneering in early 2018 late 2017, is international expansion.
Some of the other things that’ll be exciting to watch I think are new product launches. Visioneering has been planning on launching a product for astigmatism. This is what’s called the toric lens. And the toric lens is important, because technically it gets us into a revolutionary product in the industry, which is called a toric multifocal. The toric you should expect at the end of 2017 early 2018. The toric multifocal is something that you could expect more towards the end of 2018. You should also expect to see from us, further expansion of our sales infrastructure as well.
Jessica Amir: Dr Stephen Snowdy, it’s incredibly exciting, can’t wait to see what happens for FY18. Thank you so much for the update.
Dr Stephen Snowdy: I really appreciate you taking the time.