Memphasys (ASX:MEM) IVF clinical studies


by Rachael Jones

Memphasys Limited (ASX:MEM) Executive Chairman, Alison Coutts talks about the company's agreement with IVF clinics in Spain to trial sperm separation efficacy.

Rachel Jones: Hello, I'm Rachael Jones with the Finance News Network. Joining me today from Memphasys Limited (ASX:MEM) is Executive Chairman Alison Coutts. Alison, welcome to FNN.

Alison Coutts: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.

Rachael Jones: Now, first off Alison could you start by giving us an introduction to your company?

Alison Coutts: Yes, I'd be delighted. I'm really pleased to be here because I'm trying to get a really important message out. We are a bio-separations company, and Memphasys Limited (ASX:MEM) comes from emphasis on membrane separation systems. What we do is we separate out the most valuable components from the biological fluid. Our first product is separating the best sperm from semen for IVF treatments. What's unique about us is that we got a product that we know works, because it already some years ago resulted in some live births.

Rachael Jones: That's fantastic. Thanks Alison. Now, before we talk about the commercialisation opportunities, can you tell us about the technology and how that works?

Alison Coutts: Yeah, so we use membranes as I stated, and we also use a process called electrophoreses. Those two things help us to separate by size with the membranes, and by electrical force with this electrophoreses. We put a charge across the fluid. What people don't realise is that the best sperm have the most negative charge on the cell surface, it's part of why this create this outer skeleton. That indicates the least Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage.

What we do is we draw them across with the current or the voltage and they go towards the anode, the very, very large cells like white blood cells get left behind, and we get the really good yield quickly. Three minutes, automatic process, and they're the best.

Rachael Jones: Thanks Alison, and you recently attended the conference in human reproduction and embryology in Spain. What were the highlights of that?

Alison Coutts: Oh, a few things. It was wonderful to be there. It was great to see John Aitken give one of the keynote addresses. It confirmed our view and everybody's actually knowledge now that at least 50% of the time for infertile couples, it's the male has a responsibility. The second thing it confirmed for me was that there's no new treatment for male infertility out there. Thirdly, we were able to meet a number of key opinion leaders, and everybody we met expressed a desire to help test our new Felix device. That's the name of the device we're developing.

Rachael Jones: When do those trials start, and what will you be testing for?

Alison Coutts: The trials will start when we finalise the development of the machine, the device, that we plan to take to market. We started making, certainly it's finalising its design. It's going to have single use disposable cartridges, and we expect it to be ready to give to the key opinion leaders in the first quarter of next year.

Rachael Jones: Now to your pathway to commercialisation. Where do you expect the first sales of your device to come from?

Alison Coutts: We expect these sales to be in key markets of Europe, which is where these key opinion leaders were from. After the European Union (EU), we expect Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to follow, so sales in Australia. Then, after that Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rachael Jones: Alison, can you provide a comment on your share price over the last 12 months?

Alison Coutts: Well, that's a good question. It's been a hard time. I inherited a lot of drama and litigation. Fortunately I can say that is well and truly all behind us. But, while we were going through the last bits of it we had to fund, that's myself and my fellow director, Andrew Goodall, had to fund the company essentially ourselves. There were some interesting moments. We got an equity line of credit, which then caused the share price to spiral right down. That also caused a very, very large number of shares to be on issue.

Fortunately, as I said, it's all behind us. It's a clean sheet, and we now have done a consolidation, 15 to 1, which has really tidied up the share register, and we've managed to get a very high profile committed investor in Bob Peters. A horse racing and ownership identity to help with where we're going in the future, because we've also got a horse application. We've got Paterson Securities Limited behind us, who have been wonderful in helping us with raising the money when we needed.

Rachael Jones: Last question now Alison, what can investors look for in terms of news flow over the next 12 months?

Alison Coutts: Well, really it's all about the development of this Felix device, and everything to do with that you'll see. There's going to be some news about how we're going on the development path, getting that device ready to put into the hands of the key opinions leaders. I'm attending a conference over in the United States (U.S), I'm trying to get some more United States (U.S) based key opinion leaders. I've already reached out to some and there's been some very positive response. There's nothing like meeting them in person. So, we'll have devices out starting with key opinion leaders trials in that period, and there will be news flow from that. In addition, we'll be developing the horse application, which uses the same core technology but we've got to scale up the device if we are to use it for artificial insemination.

Rachael Jones: Alison Coutts, thanks for the update.

Alison Coutts: Thank you very much.