Leading innovation in the aged care sector


by James Sweeney

Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Simavita Limited (ASX:SVA, TSXV:SV) CEO, Philippa Lewis

James Sweeney: Hello I’m James Sweeney and welcome to the Finance News Network at the ASX Spotlight Series, here in New York City. Joining me today from Sydney based medical devices company, Simavita Limited (ASX:SVA, TSXV:SV) is its CEO, Philippa Lewis. Philippa thank you very much for joining us and welcome to FNN.

Philippa Lewis: Thank you.

James Sweeney: Simavita provides cost saving continence managing solutions. What is your business case and commercial strategy?

Philippa Lewis: So our business case is all about delivering better care to aging people and taking costs out. We believe that technology can only be successful in healthcare, if you can achieve both clinical outcomes improved for people as well as delivering more effective, more efficient care. And removing costs from the whole equation.

James Sweeney: The Company very recently listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange Ventures Market in Canada, and has now listed in Australia’s ASX. What is the rationale behind dual listing and how will it assist the Company and its investors?

Philippa Lewis: Well we’re opening up here in the United States as we speak, because we have a fantastic partner in the form of Medline. So our biggest single market right now is the United States, we’re rolling out now. So having exposure on a North American Exchange was important to us. But secondly the dual listing in Australia is also important, because the baseline of our investors is Australian at this stage. And so they wanted to have access to the local Exchange with our stock. So that’s the reason for the dual listing, exposure to North American capital and the North American market, and local Exchange as well.

James Sweeney: Thanks Philippa. Now you raised around $14 million under the TSXV and ASX IPOs. How are those funds being deployed?

Philippa Lewis: Well we’re rolling out across the United States as we sit here and we need that to deploy the product across the US. We’re also rolling out across Australia and we have some very exciting advancing discussions in Europe. So we need to have those funds to support the Company to achieve those goals. But in addition we’ve got a lot of product rollout, additional product development and product spinouts. So we’re going to continue to innovate the current platform that we have, and the funds will be deployed for that activity.

James Sweeney: Now some people have described your medical device SIM as an electronic diaper, but really it’s more than that. Can you explain?

Philippa Lewis: Yes it’s much more than that. The electronic diaper part of it is true; it’s a sensor device inside a diaper that’s worn by somebody. But in fact, the smart part of this is about the algorithms that are imbedded in the product. So what we do is we take that information from the diaper and we convert that into useful data, and we interpret it through smart algorithms. That’s sent through a wireless technology platform and held at a nurses’ station, or on a mobile device.

At the end of this 72 hour process they get a huge amount of reports, 16 different reports on that person. How to care for them, manage them, change their care planning, deliver better outcomes and importantly, take costs out. So it’s not just a smart diaper, it’s about the data and the
conversion and interpretation of that data into very clever reports.

James Sweeney: Initially your medical device is being offered to residential aged care facilities, as a way of helping significantly reduce cost and improve health outcomes. What other applications are there in aged care and beyond as well?

Philippa Lewis: Well of course there’re many other applications for monitoring aging people through a smart diaper, whether it’s a GPS application or perhaps a falls application. But of course we have community care. We have four times as many aging people trying to stay at home longer, than we have in long term care or residential aged care, and they need to be assessed for their continence management. In addition to that, there’s electronic medical records and personal care planning. Those kinds of platforms seek out data and of course, we need to provide that interoperability.

Beyond that there’re applications for an everyday sensor, worn everyday by people who are incontinent and many, many other applications. So what we have right now is a spinout opportunity, because we have a platform technology. And our intellectual property is now looking to be very exciting from a licencing point of view, for manufacturers and suppliers in all types of different industries.

James Sweeney: Simavita has that exclusive US distribution agreement with the dominant local player Medline, which began this year. How significant is this alliance and how will it assist your entry into other big markets, such as Europe and Japan?

Philippa Lewis: Well Medline’s a very important partner to us, because they are a dominant player here in the United States. They’re very competent in the area of continence and they’re very, very active in long term care. So for us, that partnership builds a strong platform for distribution here in the United States. As far as Europe is concerned, there’s a lot of interest out of European distributors and European producers. So anybody who’s operating in this area of incontinence, or in long term care is interested in what we’re doing, because the technology is really a game changer.

So what we’re doing is taking a manual activity and instrumenting it. So what we do is done every day in the marketplace. So people are looking at this and saying, ‘wow we can instrument something that’s highly manual’. And it works almost ubiquitously anywhere in the world. So Medline’s an important step change for us, because this is our biggest single market in the world really, the United States. But Europe, Japan very interesting to us as well and we are actively advancing discussions there.

James Sweeney: The Company is rooted in fresh innovation beyond SIM, which you hope will drive step change and the way incontinence care is managed, in the aged care sector. What are the applications that might emerge and how confident are you, that Simavita has sufficient patent protection?

Philippa Lewis: We’ve got a very strong patent protection platform and we’re very confident that we hold a large piece of the landscape. We’ve got a lot of other opportunities in terms of applications of the core technology. It’s all about integration and application, as you say. Now across other sectors and other opportunities, we’re looking carefully at managing our intellectual property. Because it’s inevitable that there are parts or elements of this technology, that other industries possibly completely removed from the aging sector, may wish to cherry pick. And we’re very ready for that strategy and prepared to implement that strategy. And at the same time, protect ourselves through a vigorous intellectual property program.

James Sweeney: Thanks Philippa. Quite clearly you have a mountain to climb in meeting potential demand for your medical device in the US. How careful have you been not to set unrealistic goals and what do you envision upcoming milestones to be?

Philippa Lewis: So our goals are not unrealistic. We know that when we introduce a disruptive technology into healthcare settings, it takes time. Now we’re no different to any other device. Although I would say, the fact that we’ve worked with this device in industry in Australia for the last four years, has helped us develop the correct way to go to market. And importantly, the device itself has now been iterated four times, so it means we’ve got it right. We’re not going to market with a problem device or a device that’s not appealing to the customer, the user themselves - in particular the care worker. So we’re very confident that the goals we’re setting in terms of our revenues and so forth are realistic.

In terms of milestones, our biggest milestone now is to gain some good traction here in the United States. We’re rolling out now as we speak, also to get our traction happening in Australia. We’ve had little revenues in Australia along the way, but now it’s ready to launch the platform product. In addition to that, we’re hoping to have some licence arrangements come into place in the next 12 months for the Company. And also to continue our product development program, which is really quite vigorous in the area of product spinouts.

James Sweeney: Philippa Lewis, thank you for your introduction to Simavita.

Philippa Lewis: Thank you very much.