Chairman Darren Lurie provided an update on the company’s sales, distribution strategy in APAC countries, and entering the Oral and Breast cancer screening and surgery markets in an interview with Rachael Jones from the Finance News Network (FNN). Watch the full interview here.
“Rachael Jones: Hello. I’m Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from OptiScan Imaging (ASX:OIL) is Executive Chairman Darren Lurie. Darren, welcome to FNN.
Darren Lurie: Thanks, Rachael.
Rachael Jones: Now, first off, Darren, could you start by giving us an introduction to the company?
Darren Lurie: Yeah, sure. So, OptiScan is a Melbourne based medical device manufacturer. So, what we do is we make a miniaturised handheld confocal endomicroscope. And what that means is we have the ability to take instantaneous virtual biopsy-like images, which have particular applications for human cancer screening and surgical margin determination, or determining the margin of the tumour so the surgeon knows where to stop cutting.
Rachael Jones: So, now let’s talk more about your laser scanning confocal endomicroscopes. Can you tell me about the clinical applications?
Darren Lurie: We have three main clinical applications. The first one being in oral cancer, where our device is able to be used for both cancer screening and that surgical margin determination that I mentioned before. We were very fortunate to receive almost a million dollars of funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund to commence a 150-patient study at the Melbourne Dental School. And we’re expecting that to kick off in the next month or so.
We’ve also got two other studies going on at the moment in oral cancer. One of which is at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, which is one of the top cancer centres in the US, top few cancer centres in the US. And another one with one of Australia’s leading dental researchers at the Australian Centre for Oral Oncology in Perth.
And it’s for this oral cancer application that we’re looking to pursue that FDA approval. We met with the FDA in late January just before all the travel restrictions. And we’ve continued to exchange information with them, and we’re expecting some further feedback from them in the next month or so.
The second application that we’re looking at is in relation to breast cancer. And in this application, approximately 60 per cent of breast cancer surgeries are lumpectomies, but unfortunately, 20 to 30 per cent of these cases require repeat surgery because not all the cancer was able to be taken on during the first surgery. And what we’re confident about is that with our device and the imaging taking place simultaneously with the surgery, we’ll be able to significantly reduce those requirements for repeat surgeries.
Our third application is part of our cooperation agreement with Carl Zeiss. And Carl Zeiss is one of the world’s leading medical device companies. And we supply our OptiScan technology into their CONVIVO product. And their CONVIVO device has FDA and CE approval for use in brain cancer surgery. And Carl Zeiss are now marketing and commercialising that product in major markets like Europe and the US.
In relation to our other product, our laboratory product, which is our FIVE2 ViewnVivo, we’re at the moment expanding our worldwide distribution. So, we’ve just taken on board a consultant to help us expand into Asia Pacific. And we’re really pleased with our distribution or our new distribution arrangements in China, where we’ve had three sales within the last 12 months.
Rachael Jones: That all sounds very positive. Now let’s talk about strategy and finance. What are your goals and who has been backing the company?
Darren Lurie: Yes. So, one of our key goals is around the oral cancer application and our pursuit of FDA approval to market that device into the United States. And then we have plans to launch that product and seek regulatory approvals for the InVivage product and other leading markets — in particular, China, Europe and Australia.
From a finance perspective, we’re very pleased that in the last quarter we had positive cashflow after taking into account operating cashflow and the financing of our R&D tax credit.
Rachael Jones: And to the last question now, Darren, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Darren Lurie: We see a really exciting future ahead for OptiScan. We have an existing, proven technology that’s already approved in brain cancer surgery. We’re pursuing an FDA approval for using our device in oral cancer. We have following on applications in breast cancer as well. And we’re really starting to expand our distribution of our FIVE2 ViewnVivo laboratory product.
Rachael Jones: Darren Lurie, thanks so much for the update and congratulations on progress.
Darren Lurie: Thank you.”