21 Oct 2016

Dunedin med tech company gains US market access

1:25 pm on 21 October 2016

A Dunedin-based medical technology company's cancer tests have been made available to nearly 20 million American military members and veterans.

Pacific Edge has had its CXbladder cancer tests accepted for use by major US health insurer, Tricare.

The approvals gives Pacific Edge access to about 20 million Americans.

The approvals gives Pacific Edge access to about 20 million Americans. Photo: Supplied / Pacific Edge

The approval means the tests can be used by 9.4 million people covered by the US Military Health System, which includes active military and veterans.

Earlier this year, the company's tests were also accepted for use by the Veterans Administration, which has 10.5 million beneficiaries and is present at 150 defence facilities across the United States.

The breakthrough sent Pacific Edge shares surging nearly 19 percent.

Chief executive David Darling said it had taken two years to get its bladder cancer tests accepted by US federal authorities and that had bolstered its credibility in a key market, which it will now exploit.

"We are gaining more and more recognition of our CXbladder tests as an effective, accurate and simple-to-use, non-invasive test for the diagnosis and monitoring of bladder cancer.

"This latest provider approval is a reflection of our growing traction in the USA and increases our penetration into this key market."

The next challenge was to translate that access to major health insurers and medical providers into sales and revenue, he said.

The company had the financial resources to take advantage of the openings the new contracts offered it.

"We're well funded - we raised $35 million in 2015 and at the end of the financial year in March we had $24 million; we 've been growing our revenue and our rate of [cash] burn is quite low relative to other companies."

The company reported a loss of $15.4 million in the year ended March, while its revenue was $5 million, as it spent money on developing its products and marketing.