Wednesday 15 February 2012

iSonea rapidly approaches commercialisation, targets US$16 billion asthma market

iSonea (ASX: ISN) is preparing to roll out a number of its asthma products over the next 24 months after entering its first formal partnership with telecommunications company Qualcomm Life for the development of a mobile asthma monitoring platform.
Proactive Investors spoke to chief executive officer Michael Thomas on what this partnership means for iSonea.
Thomas said today Qualcomm’s position as the world’s largest and most premier telecommunications company in the world would provide iSonea access to companies, partners and opportunities that the company wouldn’t normally have access to.

iSonea will leverage Qualcomm's 2net Hub technology, a plug-and-play connectivity gateway to the cloud-based 2net Platform data server, to collect and transmit patient health data from its asthma monitoring devices.

The technology will ultimately allow physicians to securely access patient monitoring data, review treatment progress and medication adherence and adjust patient action plans accordingly.

Importantly, the partnership will also provide iSonea with a larger scale, lower cost platform.

“Qualcomm’s backbone, the product that we’re basically going to be leveraging, will allow us to focus more time and energy and money on marketing and what we would call the front end of our new strategy, as opposed to the back end,” he said. 

“They have a very robust IT infrastructure that we can leverage. So it’s going to save us money in the long term and it’s going to end up enabling us to have a much more scaleable, less costly type of platform.”

Another strategic advantage of the partnership is that it offers iSonea exposure to Qualcomm’s highly respected venture capital arm, Qualcomm Ventures.

“This is another step that gets us closer to a very large financing arm for us to have as a strategic partner that could potentially take an interest financially in iSonea,” Thomas said.

This new partnership with Qualcomm also, importantly, provides confidence to other strategic partners iSonea is in initial discussions with as to the credibility of the company and the quality of its technology.

Tapping a US$16b market

In the U.S., healthcare is considered the largest and least tapped market for mobile technology, which is leading to the big IT players like Microsoft, Cisco and Google all seeking out ways to penetrate the market.

“They’re going to be starting initiatives themselves but they’re not experts in healthcare, they’re experts in the communications and technology platforms,” Thomas told Proactive Investors.

“So what we bring to the table is the ability to leverage a very specific expertise and connections globally as it relates to asthma and respiratory diseases.”

The asthma market from a therapy perspective is about US$16 billion annually. Asthma is a widespread and growing condition that affects 300 million people worldwide and represents a major healthcare cost burden.

Thomas said Australia, in particular, has one of the highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world.

iSonea will be releasing an update in terms of milestones and due dates for the release of its asthma products towards the end of this month.

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