Oventus Medical Limited (ASX:OVN) Vice President of Marketing and Operations Robin Randolph talks North America progress and the company's expansion into Australia and Canada.
Jessica Amir: Hello I’m Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network and with me today from Oventus Medical (ASX:OVN) is Vice-President of Marketing and Operations, Robin Randolph. Hi Robin, lovely to meet you.
Robin Randolph: You too Jessica, thanks for having me.
Jessica Amir: Robin thank you so much for joining us from Colorado in the US. But first us up for those who don’t know just tell us what you’re doing at Oventus and secondly how the company is currently positioned?
Robin Randolph: We have a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is when a patient falls asleep at night and stops breathing. It’s a massive problem affecting 34 per cent of the men and 17 per cent of the women. It’s commonly treated with a medical device called CPAP, which blows air through a tube through a mask into the patient’s airway, keeping the airway open at night. While it’s effective it’s not easily tolerated. And we notice that 80 per cent of the patients that have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea are no longer in care because they simply cannot tolerate that treatment. And if a patient can’t wear CPAP and they don’t seek alternative care they’re putting their life at risk.
Jessica Amir: What’s the process that patients go through if they want to get access to an Oventus device. Do they need to just simply see their general practitioner?
Robin Randolph: I’m really glad you asked that because unfortunately many patients don’t know where to go next once they can’t tolerate CPAP.The O2Vent device does require a physician order and then a qualified dentist scans the patient’s mouth and customises a perfect fit of the device. The first step is to see the primary care physician or return to the sleep physician that first diagnosed them to discuss options. But also to help with this need of education and drive awareness we recently just launched a new website called AwakeXpress. AwakeXpress is a site that patients can go to and go through a series of questions and determine if the O2Vent might be an alternative treatment for their sleep apnoea.
Jessica Amir: You’re heading up the company’s operations in North America and you just released an announcement about progress in the region. Can you just talk us through today’s announcement and also what it means for your overall strategy?
Robin Randolph: We really promote a collaborative care between the sleep physician and the dentist. And today we just announced the successful launch of one of our new business models that’s rolling out, first of all in North Carolina. What we’ve done is connected the dots or the docs in this case. So we’ve teamed up with Dr Kwai, who is a medical director for the largest sleep management services company in the US and he has three or four sleep labs there in North Carolina.
Also what is unique to North Carolina is there’s a very large dental group that consists of 49 physicians - Lane Dentistry. And so while Dr Kwai provides the expert diagnosis, Lane Dental provides the scanning and the fitting. And the patient returns to the dentist and also follows up with a sleep physician to make sure that they’re well supported.
Jessica Amir: You’ve just launched this new model in North Carolina, as you mentioned. Do you see this being something that you’d roll out across the rest of the United States?
Robin Randolph: Yes it’s one of the core models and in fact we’re in discussions now across the US. The most important thing about this technology is that the sleep physicians look at it. And they get it right away because they understand how the airways work. And we have an airways that integrated into the O2Vent and it works in conjunction with the patient’s own physiology for a strong treatment outcome.
Jessica Amir: You recently also launched a new generation product here in Australia and Canada - the Optima. What’s the take up been like for that and when do you expect to see that in the US?
Robin Randolph: We’ve had great feedback and uptake on the new generation of O2Vent, and this device is called Optima. The product was only launched in January in Australia and in Canada. But right now what we’re doing is educating all the dentists and sleep clinicians in Canada. And we expect to see momentum building in the market in both Australia and Canada over the coming quarters.
In the US unfortunately we won’t have Optima in the market until it receives 510 (k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. In the meantime we’re selling the original O2Vent product in the US under the model that we’ve recently talked about today. And we expect the results to really lift off significantly in the US once we’ve got Optima in this market. And that’s going to occur midyear. Overall though, there’s a load of momentum building across our stakeholders, all of our networks and across all the key markets. It’s really an exciting time for us.
Jessica Amir: Brilliant. Robin Randolph, thank you so much for your time and best of luck from here. We look forward to watching you progress.
Robin Randolph: Thanks very much Jessica.