Oventus Medical (ASX:OVN) lists on ASX

Interviews

by David Chau

David Chau: Hello, I’m David Chau from the Finance News Network. Joining me from newly-listed medical device company, Oventus Medical Founder and Executive Director, Dr Chris Hart.

Chris, thanks for joining us.

Dr Chris Hart: Thanks for having me.

David Chau: Firstly Chris, could you start by giving an introduction to Oventus Medical?

Dr Chris Hart: Oventus Medical is a medical device manufacturer operating in the sleep disorder breathing space. We developed a proprietary mouth guard, with a significant point of difference, with a revolutionary patented airway that has the ability to bypass nose, soft pallet, and tongue obstruction simultaneously. The company was originally formed on the back of an invention that I invented myself for my own treatment. So I was a severe sleep apnoea sufferer and I also suffered from nasal congestion and obstruction. Due to the nasal congestion and obstruction I had a lot of trouble tolerating and complying with existing technologies such as CPAP and other oral appliances so out of desperation one night, I took some flexible saliva injector tubes and fashioned an auxiliary airway for myself delivering out the back of my throat, so bypassing my nose issues. That was the first O2 Vent device.

David Chau: Now to your IPO, how much was raised and how much are you trading at?

Dr Chris Hart: We offered 24 million shares at 50 cents per share for a raising of $12 million. I think the share opened at 60 cents earlier today and has been trading through the day around that level. That was on a pre-money evaluation of $24 million, so the market capitalisation at listing was $36 million.

David Chau: So Chris, let’s talk about your O2 Vent mouth guard; how does it work and where is it sold?

Dr Chris Hart: Well it’s a custom designed mouth guard that’s 3D printed in titanium and the point of difference is that we’ve built an airway into it, in fact I have one here. And what it does is the air can enter the mouth here, it can stay in an enclosed airway then it exits at the back of the throat so the air bypasses nose and soft pallet obstructions, it goes around the tongue and then it enters the airway in the back of the throat into the oropharynx. It’s the unique patented airway that is a paradigm shift in the treatment of sleep apnoea. So for patients that have nasal obstruction for instance, or congestion or soft pallet issues, which is estimated as around 50 per cent of the population; they have difficulty tolerating nasal seepage and a full face mask has a lot of pressure and comfort-related issues in terms of claustrophobia. And if you have difficulty breathing through your nose and you put an oral appliance in, we know have obstructions in both levels of airways.

So the point of difference here is the enclosed airway, at the same time we can advance the mandible and control the jaw position as well. With that we have a very low resistance pathway for the air to get straight into the back of the throat where the obstructions would ordinarily occur. We’ve shown in our clinical trials that it has been very effective in patients with nasal obstruction in particular and also well into the severe range of sleep apnoea. At the moment the mouth guards, the O2 Vent devices, are delivered through a network of dentists Australia-wide. We have 20 dentists at the moment delivering them across Australia in the capital cities and some regional areas, and we’re bringing about another 50 dentists online around Australia between now and the end of the year.

David Chau: So Chris, what is the potential market size of the sleep apnoea market?

Dr Chris Hart: Well look the global market last year for sleep apnoea was estimated at around about $3.5 billion, within that market, remember that approximately 50 per cent of those suffer from nasal congestion or obstruction as well, and that the only other treatment option for them is surgery which has high costs and high morbidity rates. So, we think this is a multibillion dollar market, that we can address unchallenged as it’s a massive unmet need in the population.

In North America alone there are 22 million sleep apnoea sufferers, 11 million of them, it’s estimated, suffer from nasal congestion as well, and as I said before half of those patients that are diagnosed are not using their CPAPs at the end of year one and high rates after that as well. So, we think that for those patients that are currently outside of care either due to the inability to tolerate CPAP or because of nasal related issues, we have a massive opportunity there to help those patients out and that market position is worth billions of dollars.

David Chau: There are a number of companies that are specialising in devices to treat sleep apnoea, how do you set yourself apart from bigger companies like ResMed?

Dr Chris Hart: Revolutionary and patented O2 Vent airway is the point of difference so there are no other technologies that can bypass nose, soft pallet and tongue obstruction at the same time. So the ResMed type machines are going to force air through the nose and or the mouth, other oral appliances may deal with obstructions of the tongue base but outside of surgery, again which has very low success rates, high morbidity and high costs associated with it, there’s no other option for these patients that have multiple levels of obstruction.

So we see that we have a position to market which is estimated at 50 per cent of the addressable market that we can service at this point unchallenged.

David Chau: Finally Chris, what’s your long term ambition for the company?

Dr Chris Hart: Like everyone operating in this space, we want to change peoples’ lives; we want to bring more people into care, and we want people to live longer, feel healthier, and have a better life. And I think that our unique technology allows us to address those needs and wants in more patients than other technologies, particularly those patients that are outside of care due to severe apnoea, intolerance to CPAP and nose and tongue related issues

David Chau: Dr Chris Hart, thanks so much for your time and once again congratulations on the listing.

Dr Chris Hart: Great, David. Thanks for having me.
 

David Chau

Finance News Network
David joined FNN in April 2016. In addition to presenting the Market Outlook and latest business news stories, David interviews senior economists and CEOs of ASX-listed companies. Prior to working for FNN, David was a litigation lawyer.