Winnipeg, MB -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/09/2015 -- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States with over a million new cases each year, according to the American Diabetes Association, costing the healthcare system $176 billion in direct costs and the economy $76 billion in lost productivity in 2012.
The metabolic disease is characterized by the body's inability to produce enough insulin, or more commonly, to not be able to effectively use the insulin it does produce, both of which cause elevated and damaging glucose levels in the blood. While companies like Eli Lilly & Co. and Novo Nordisk A/S provide artificial insulin to fill the void, there are no cures for diabetes that alleviate a patient's need for costly lifelong treatment. One of the best ways to prevent or slow down the onset of diabetes and its disastrous complications is to make dietary and lifestyle changes that inhibit its formation from the start.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to predict when diabetes is becoming a major risk as you can have it for years without any symptoms while it causes unseen internal damage. Pre-diabetes affects some 86 million Americans over the age of 20 (9 out of 10 are undiagnosed), but the only way to diagnose it is through invasive blood testing. Patients often delay undergoing these tests, which means that the preventable stage of the disease is often ignored and undiagnosed until it's too late and full-blown diabetes is developed requiring lifelong treatment.
The Advantages of a Non-Invasive Test
Miraculins Inc. (TSX-V: MOM) (OTC: MCUIF), a medical device company that acquires, develops and commercializes non-invasive screening tests to aid physicians in the earlier diagnosis of disease, is introducing a non-invasive diabetes screening test that takes just 90 seconds to complete. It has the potential to affect real change by making early diabetes screening easily accessible without requiring needles, blood draw, fasting, or waiting and by creating a tipping point for action, motivating patients at risk to seek medical care and attention before the disease becomes uncontrollable.
The Scout DS® non-invasive diabetes screening technology works by using visible light to scan a patient's skin for specific biomarkers associated with pre and type 2 diabetes, and then generating a numerical result after running more than 200 data points through a complex and proprietary algorithm that determines one's level of risk. The accuracy of the test has been confirmed in a number of successful clinical studies involving more than 15,000 subjects, which has paved the way to regulatory clearance in multiple countries and a ramp-up to commercialization.
Market Testing Underway
Miraculins acquired the Scout DS® non-invasive diabetes screening technology from VeraLight Inc. in August of 2013. The device was cleared in Canada and Mexico, and had been CE-Marked in the European Union. Management plans to file pre-submission documentation with the FDA regarding the de novo classification of the Scout DS® device in the first quarter of 2015 as a next step towards securing marketing clearance in the U.S., which represents a potentially enormous market.
In Canada, the company will soon be piloting the Scout DS® in the Lovell Drugs pharmacy chain, where it hopes to secure a proof-of-concept ahead of a larger rollout. The pilot aims to demonstrate that a stand-alone Scout DS® diabetes screening kiosk set up inside a pharmacy during peak traffic periods, can deliver rapid screening of to up to 10 customers an hour and leverage the customer experience to generate a meaningful financial return on investment for the pharmacy (the commercial program on rollout would call for the pharmacies to lease the kiosks and devices on a weekly or monthly basis). During the initial pilot, participants will receive free screenings in exchange for completing a short consumer health questionnaire delivered via a touchscreen tablet, designed to capture data to help Miraculins further build its business case for pharmacy expansion. Those screened would also receive free educational materials on diabetes, and receive a recommendation to consult with the pharmacist and see their doctor if their score is elevated.
The economic conversion would be accomplished not only through the identification of undiagnosed pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics - who are worth many thousands of dollars a year combined in medications and preventive/treatment supplies to the pharmacy - but also by target selling those being screened related reimbursable services such as medication reviews and smoking cessation products/consultation. Also, by working to consolidate customer prescriptions to the one store and develop new customer relationships with those attracted by word-of-mouth to the store about the new screen.
Miraculins will also be piloting the Scout DS® at large companies to prove the value of workplace screenings to reduce incidences of diabetes and their related economic and productivity costs. The goal will be to evolve a commercial platform that would see Scout DS® devices leased by employers as part of a company's health and wellness program. This would facilitate employees receiving free screenings (to encourage widespread participation), diabetes awareness and education, and a pathway to preventive measures or treatment delivered through healthcare providers, when elevated test scores resulted in subsequent diagnoses. Miraculins believes this program could hold significant interest for employers and insurance companies alike based upon its belief that the economic argument and attendant health and wellness benefits are strong. The Company also believes such a program could be exportable worldwide.
In addition to these end markets, the company has executed a sales and distribution agreement for Scout DS® in China, ahead of Chinese FDA regulatory approval that's expected to take about a year and a half to secure. The deal is valued at USD$90 Million and CFDA approval will trigger initial and subsequent minimum device orders in the world's most populous country where diabetes and pre-diabetes are at epidemic proportions, and this could potentially add long-term shareholder value over the coming years. Combined, these elements contribute to the evolution of a global distribution and sales strategy.
Potential Opportunity to Watch
Many investors in the diabetes space are focused on new medical devices that aim to make treatment options more palatable. For instance, Insulet Corp. is developing tubeless insulin pumps that are easier to use for patients, while DexCom Inc. is developing continuous glucose monitoring systems for patients in ambulatory care as an alternative to manual blood tests that must be drawn periodically.
Miraculins represents a dramatic departure from traditional plays in the industry, as a company focused on eliminating the problem at the source. With its non-invasive diabetes screening technology, the company hopes to help patients address prediabetes before it's too late in order to prevent lifelong treatment and to provide a pathway for undiagnosed type 2 diabetics into effective disease treatment and management. Success in doing so could save the healthcare system billions of dollars and unlock significant long-term shareholder value at the same time.
For more information, visit the company's website at www.miraculinsir.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this press release, the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "may," "intend," "expect" and similar expressions identify such forward-looking statements. Actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those contemplated, expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein. These forward-looking statements are based largely on the expectations of the Company and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. These include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties associated with: the sales of the company's identity protection software products into various channels and market sectors, the issuance of the company's pending patent application, and the impact of economic, competitive and other factors affecting the Company and its operations, markets, product, and distributor performance, the impact on the national and local economies resulting from terrorist actions, and U.S. actions subsequently; and other factors detailed in reports filed by the Company.
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Source: UPTICK Newswire