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VentriPoint Diagnostics eyeing big opportunity after winning first US customer for VMS plus

Ventripoint received key FDA approval to sell the device with the four-chamber heart analysis last month

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There are 1,500 cancer centers in the USA, which deal with 23mln patients

Heart-focused medtech group VentriPoint Diagnostics Ltd (CVE:VPT) has been on a news tear recently and the latest shot in the arm was its first US customer for the ground-breaking VMS Plus machine.

And that buyer is no less than the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas -  the number-one ranked cancer centre in the US.

It comprises a network of hospitals who see an eye-watering 1.5mln patients per year and perform almost 600,000 imaging studies.

News of this first sale comes after last month, the emerging medtech firm received the all-important FDA approval to sell the device with the four-chamber heart analysis system in the USA.

Doctors at MD Anderson will be using the VMS+ to monitor cardiac function in cancer patients since it is well known that chemotherapy agents are cardiotoxic and lead to  significant patients acquiring heart dysfunction. They are to start using it immediately clinically.

So what is the VMS Plus?

This is a machine, which will potentially revolutionise the way doctors treat heart patients as it can give accurate and rapid volumetric information about all four chambers of the heart.

It is the only technology in the world that can perform such an analysis of all four chambers using data from a conventional 2D (two dimensional) eco-cardiogram (in other words an ultrasound test).

The heart is a pump so when there is a problem it is not always easy to know where exactly the fault lies, so analysis of each chamber is essential.

So, rather than the doctor trying to decipher the 2D ultrasound image, the VMS Plus gives hard data about the pump's function and deterioration rates, or improvements, which means the treatment can be much more accurate and appropriate.

A huge potential opportunity..

Dr  George Adams, the chief executive at VentriPoint, says the MD Anderson Cancer Center order represents a huge opportunity.

 "Since all chemotherapy agents hurt the heart, the American Heart Association (AHA) has put out a statement saying cancer patients should ask to have their heart examined before, during and after therapy as they are more likely to die from heart problems than cancer after they have the therapy," he noted.

He reckons the hospital's network would need 750 VMS+ devices to treat their patients according to the AHA (American Heart Association) guidelines (3 three scans per patient) at "full utilisation".

There are 1,500 cancer centers in the USA, which deal with 23mln patients, who come back twice a year to check to see if the cancer has regrown and the AHA is saying they really should be more worried about heart conditions then cancer, suggests Adams

He says that to follow AHA guidelines in the USA with the normal use rates would require 20,000 VMS+ machines.  

At US$75,000 each this would be  US$1.5bn of sales, he says, and that is just for the USA. The European market is 1.5 times' the USA.

In March this year, the firm said it would advance the AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities of the system, via a government grant.

VentriPoint will partner with Ryerson University on a project to further advance the Al  already imbedded in  the VMS+ products as it is taking part in a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Engage grant.

The same month, it established an business advisory committee (BAC) and named Samuel Schwartz as its inaugural chairman.

Significantly, in January, its VMSplus device received a European CE mark less than a month after the firm made the application.

It means it can now be sold to aid in heart treatment throughout the European Union and the medtech group said it aims to meet with distributors with a focus on Germany, the  UK and France.

According to the European Heart Network, cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes 3.9mln deaths in Europe annually and accounts for 45% of all deaths in Europe, so the opportunity is vast here.

Expansion plans

Last November, the group revealed it was putting expansion plans in the Middle East in  place.

It struck a partnership with the  SEED Group, which is a group of firms owned The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

"The SEED Group has already introduced us to leading cardiologists and hospitals in the region, who have expressed their interest in acquiring the VMS-PLUS and demonstrating its application within the healthcare environment," Adams had said.

"We see Dubai as an excellent starting place for our expansion plans into the Middle East."

In September, the firm said that interest in VentriPoint products is strong from Iran, Singapore, Thailand, UAE and Saudi Arabia, and that regional distributors were verifying the local pathway to regulatory approval.

"2017 was a historical year for Ventripoint, our employees and shareholders, who have seen the company increase in market capitalisation by 384% and experience share price appreciation of 258%, while trading 206 million shares on the TSX Venture Exchange and 250mln shares on all share exchanges," Dr Adams has said.

Quick facts: VentriPoint Diagnostics Ltd.

Price: 0.08 CAD

TSX-V:VPT
Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $5.5 m
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