Pacific Edge building its presence in world's largest biomedical market
At its annual shareholders' meeting held yesterday in Dunedin, New Zealand, cancer diagnostic developer, Pacific Edge, celebrated the commercial launch of its flagship bladder cancer diagnostic product, Cxbladder, into the US and provided shareholders with an update on its growth plans.
America is the world's largest biomedical market and offers a massive opportunity for Pacific Edge, with up to 2 million potential Cxbladder test opportunities every year. ŒæThe Company generated the first commercial sales of Cxbladder in the US in October 2013 and is now focused on strengthening and growing its footprint in the American market.
At the shareholders' meeting yesterday, the Company outlined its six key initiatives for the 2015 financial year. These include the expansion of the US Sales and Marketing team and the continuing rollout of "User Programmes", where high volume clinicians or clinical groups are offered the opportunity to trial and use Cxbladder in their practices. In some cases, these clinical groups can be very large, with up to 100 urologists seeing thousands of patients every year.
Negotiating agreements with payers in the US healthcare system, including national and regional provider networks, is also a key initiative. Since October 2013, Pacific Edge has signed four agreements with National Provider Networks FedMed, America's Choice Provider Network (ACPN), Stratos and, most recently, with MultiPlan. These agreements give millions of Americans access to Cxbladder.
The Company is also advancing commercial relationships with private insurance companies, Integrated Healthcare Providers, Veterans Administration, and the Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which provides healthcare insurance for 100 million people or nearly a third of the American population.
Research and development of new products is a key priority as the Company works to realise its vision to "have a suite of bladder cancer diagnostic products for the urologist and GP that enables them to obtain a complete clinical evaluation using our Cx technology".
CEO of Pacific Edge, David Darling said: "Over the past three years, we have been working closely with urologists to understand the value Cxbladder can offer them in a clinical environment, and have identified a number of other potential uses of this technology, at different stages of the detection and treatment cycle for bladder cancer."
"We are currently developing our next product, which can be used by primary physicians to triage out patients who do not require a referral for a full urological work-up. This could dramatically reduce the number of patients requiring a full work-up, reducing the cost and pressure on the healthcare system and offering peace of mind and better care for patients."
"We already have growing brand and product awareness amongst urologists and believe that focusing on developing new products for bladder cancer is the fastest and surest way for our Company to grow."
While the US is Pacific Edgeäó»s largest targeted market opportunity, the Company also has franchise-like partnerships in New Zealand, Australia and Spain. There has also been positive interest received from potential partners in other markets, particularly in South East Asia.
New Zealand is an important market for trialling innovative and alternative methods of delivering Cxbladder to the market, with the Company recently announcing the launch of an e-commerce site. This is a key component of the commercial strategy in New Zealand and initial feedback is very positive, with the first e-sale about an hour after launching the site. The online strategy will be progressed in each of Pacific Edge's markets, where possible.
Pacific Edge Chairman, Chris Swann, said: "Pacific Edge is a unique New Zealand business and our products can make a difference in healthcare globally."
"This is an exciting time for our Company as we start to build the commercial side of our business. Whilst Pacific Edge is still operating at a loss, we have a well thought-out strategy and have successfully executed the launch of our flagship Cxbladder product into the US market. Our business growth is progressing to plan and we expect to see cashflow from sales offsetting our losses as we increase the acceptance and use of our Cxbladder technology in our targeted markets, particularly the US."
"The Company is well cashed up and the capital available to us has been earmarked to accelerate our sales force rollout in the US and to continue our research and development of new products for urologist customers."
"We will continue to evaluate other markets where we can leverage our products and franchised business model."
"Our target is to achieve gross revenues of over $100 million after five full years of trading and the Board remains confident that this is achievable under our current strategy and growth plans."
In line with its commercial expansion, Pacific Edge is also looking to add further commercial and international expertise to its Board. A further step in the Board refresh process was triggered following the resignation of Colin Dawson, effective as at the close of the 2014 annual shareholders meeting.
Chris Swann said: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Colin for the significant contribution he has made in guiding the Company through its formative and early stages of growth. We are in discussions with several candidates whose commercial skills and capabilities would be of value to the Company and we hope to make an announcement on the appointment of new directors in the near future."
Shareholders passed all resolutions at the meeting, being:
- Re-election of Christopher Swann as a Director of the Company.
- Re-election of David Band as a Director of the Company.
- Election of David Darling as an Executive Director of the Company.
- Recorded the re-appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as auditor of the Company and authorised the Directors to fix the auditor's remuneration for the ensuing year.
- Approved an increase in the maximum aggregate amount per annum payable by the Company to the Directors, in their capacity as Directors, by $26,000 to $198,000.
Following the resignation of Colin Dawson, the Pacific Edge Board currently comprises five Directors. Pursuant to NZSX Listing Rule 3.3.2, all Directors are determined to be Independent Directors as defined in NZSX Listing Rule 1.6.1, except for Anatole Masfen and David Darling, due to a Disqualifying Relationship as defined in NZSX Listing Rule 1.6.1.
The AGM presentation and commentary are available on the NZX website or at: http://www.pacificedgedx.com/investors/annual-reports/« Back