NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Exorbitant costs underscored by byzantine processes plague today’s healthcare systems, creating an $8.45 trillion global healthcare market in 2018, which represents about 10% of GDP in developed countries. Safe to say, the industry is looking for solutions, particularly more efficient ones that improve health outcomes and lower direct and indirect costs. The answer is found in technology, with healthtech (healthcare technology) and medtech (medical technology) buzzwords speaking to leveraging next-generation innovation in a bid to flatten the healthcare spending curve. New applications are being launched daily, and uptake is accelerating, fanned by the COVID-19 pandemic that bolstered adoption of self-diagnostic and remote solutions that have been embraced by health insurers and individuals alike. Some companies, such as Nemaura Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: NMRD) (Profile), are specializing in certain areas of unmet medical need, such as diabetes and obesity for NMRD. Others, including some of the most recognized names in the world such as Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), demonstrate the tremendous opportunity at hand for investments in new technologies and healthtech.
- UNC study showed only 12% of participants achieve optimal metabolic health, increasing risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Nemaura Medical’s BEAT(R) diabetes platform represents affordable innovation to treat, reverse diabetes and obesity.
- Nemaura already has contract for 200,000 units and a rolling contract forecast to include 2 million sensors over 24 months.
- Technology is scalable into other markets, including monitoring body temperature, lactate, and alcohol and drug ingestion
Can Tech Reverse a Trend in Poor Metabolic Health?
While there is no official calculation of metabolic health, its importance in quality of life is well known. Most experts assess five key health markers: medicine-free readings of blood glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference. The poignant conclusion of a seven-year study by University of North Carolina researchers was that a meager 12% of Americans achieve optimal metabolic health, which increases risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and associated comorbidities of those. Obese patients performed the worst, with only 0.5% of individuals in this group achieving optimal metabolic health.
The rise in obesity, recognized as a body mass index over 30, is leading an upward trend in diagnoses of diabetes and prediabetes, which are characterized and defined by poor glucose control. Diabetes, which by all estimates can be mostly preventable, is a deep concern considering 10.5% of all Americans — and 13% of adults — have the disease. A stunning 34.5% of Americans are prediabetic.
Globally, 463 million people have diabetes. Data from the World Health Organization shows that diabetes kills about 3.4 million people worldwide each year. The actual number of deaths where diabetes is the culprit can be difficult to discern because diabetics typically grow progressively more ill, with high blood sugar damaging the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves.
Nemaura Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: NMRD) has spent the last decade developing the world’s first daily-wear, noninvasive glucose sensor and integrated healthcare app. The company’s BEAT(R) diabetes platform, inclusive of sugarBEAT(R) CGM and proBEAT(TM), which combines noninvasive glucose data processed using artificial intelligence (“AI”) and a digital healthcare subscription service, are clearly differentiated from others in form and function. The platform uses an integrated approach that empowers individuals to lose weight and reverse diabetes or prediabetes. Furthermore, Nemaura combines an integrated app with proprietary intellectual property that is protected by more than 30 patents (approved or pending), a metabolic health program that provides an edge over similar options such as NOOM, etc.
The design of the platform affords Nemaura the opportunity to diversify into different markets, both horizontal and vertical. The company is already seeing success overseas as evidenced by a soft launch of the CE-approved medical device in the United Kingdom as well as interest from other potential partners in Europe and Middle East, both regions where diabetes and obesity are rampant. Further, the system can be tweaked to address the complete metabolic health spectrum and other markets, including monitoring body temperature, lactate, and alcohol and drug ingestion. In combination with predictive technologies such as AI and machine learning, the future for the platform is a blue sky.
BEAT-ing Diabetes in a New Way
Continuous glucose monitoring (“CGM”) isn’t new, but the innovation of Nemaura is to develop a robust system complete with mass-market sugarBEAT CGM sensors, analytics, personalized coaching and a metabolic health app. The company overcomes the obstacle of intrusiveness with its novel sensors. Today, competing sensors are mostly invasive and involve inserting a one-centimeter-long filament in the arm, which remains in place for 10 to 14 days.
Not with Nemaura. Its proprietary sensors don’t penetrate the skin at all, instead sitting atop the surface of the skin much like a Band-Aid. Nor do the sensors require extended wear periods. People suffering from diabetes, prediabetes or obesity typically only need to wear a sensor for a few days each month, and the individual dictates the time and day, disposing of the sensor daily. Fewer sensors used for fewer days means lower costs of disease management.
The data is transmitted from the sensor in real time every five minutes, and glucose profiles only need to be obtained at the end of each month to keep in check. In the WhyWait program, patients received guidance for diet and exercise adjustments based on self-monitored blood glucose (“SMBG”). The weight-loss program was originally developed at the Joslin Diabetes Centre, undergirded by more than 12 years of clinical evidence that was subsequently replicated using a virtual program showing durable weight loss without loss of muscle mass. This has now been incorporated in to Nemaura’s BEATdiabetes program.
Flipping the Script to Time in Range
For decades, the benchmark for diabetes management has been HbA1C, a measure of the amount of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, which is in red blood cells and carries oxygen from lungs throughout the body. The problem is that non-CGM collected HbA1C levels are averages that can give the same result while varying greatly throughout any given period. Think of it as a math equation. The ways “7” can be achieved are infinite (i.e., 5+2, 9-2, 11-4, 1+6, etc.).
A critical advantage of a CGM-based system such as the one offered by Nemaura is the ability to measure the time glucose levels are in a normal range, or time in range (“TIR”). For HbA1C, this can be defined as anywhere between 3.9 and 10.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/l). Knowing when and how much a person’s blood sugar is outside that target range can be instrumental in disease management. In short, understanding and controlling TIR leads to reducing the onset of complications of diabetes.
Orders for 200,000 Sensors and Counting
Nemaura expects that its technology can lead to meaningful improvements in HbA1C, blood cholesterol, blood pressure and sustainable weight loss — at an affordable price. Given that each case of diabetes costs employers and insurers more than $9,000 per year on average, compared to only $1,200 for nondiabetic individuals, subscription costs (and then some) can be recouped through avoidance of healthcare interventions and increased employee productivity.
NMRD’s BEAT diabetes platform has recently been launched in the United States with a PMA filed with the FDA. A soft launch in the United Kingdom resulted in purchase orders for 200,000 sensors and rolling POs forecast for 2 million sensors in the next 24 months. Nemaura is reportedly in negotiations with several third parties internationally regarding its sugarBEAT and BEAT platforms.
Wall Street Loves Tech
Diabetes and obesity are relatively quiet topics in the investment media, which is somewhat surprising considering the incredible size of their addressable markets, totaling some 1.5 billion people currently and rising. Granted, the diseases have been notoriously difficult to treat, but there is optimism that technology will change the landscape, a fact that was made clear with the $18.5 billion acquisition of digital health upstart Livongo in 2020, mainly for its consumer-facing diabetes app. Tech appears to be hot and is likely going to stay that way.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is a great example of growth and investor appetite for companies bringing new tech to market. Making its first all-electric Roadster in 2008, investors jumped into the company when it went public in 2010, trading in single dollar digits and barely delivering any cars each quarter. In 2016, deliveries still averaged under 19,000 per quarter. Growth has abounded and so have deliveries since, with the stock soaring over $900 per share and deliveries topping 201,000 during Q2 2021.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is the 700-pound gorilla of technology. The stock has been in an uptrend for 20 years as consumers and investors look to the brand. On Sept. 14, 2021, Apple unveiled the latest iteration of its iPhones, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, with the most advanced camera system ever on IPhone, Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion, massive leap in battery life, fastest chip yet and more. In addition, Apple is advancing its position in the healthcare and fitness spaces with its technology, including reports for future Apple watches to include temperature and blood glucose sensors.
Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) is a key player in the wearable technology space. In addition to is latest technology for boats and airplanes, Garmin has announced its Surfline widget that allows surfers to check conditions for the five nearest surfing spots from a paired compatible Garmin smartwatch, along with its new Adventure Racing sport profile, a new activity profile that allows participants to track vital information and utilize their Enduro(TM) ultraperformance multisport watch while adhering to the rules and regulations of Adventure Racing competitions, making it the first GPS-enabled watch that is Adventure Race authorized.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is a newer entrant in the healthcare segment, a signal of the tremendous growth potential of the space. The ecommerce behemoth has diversified in multiple directions, including now operating Amazon Care, a virtual-visit service trumpeting no appointments and no waiting rooms for nonemergency conditions seven days a week and 365 days a year. Amazon, through its Web Services unit, has also launched a healthcare accelerator business to bolster startups’ growth and incubate early-stage digital health companies.
Healthcare is at an inflection point. The movement was already coming about through a need for innovation, but it gained tailwinds because of even more need to deal with the COVID-19 economy. Technology never turns back once it evolves. In many cases, such as with hard-to-treat, prominent diseases that are a serious drain on healthcare systems, tech is re-shaping the paradigm and bring new solutions for the good of all involved.
For more information about Nemaura Medical Inc., please visit Nemaura Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: NMRD).
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