Viratech Corp. (OTCPK:VIRA) has created the world's first open-source social networking platform focused specifically on healthcare issues, which allows its users (current patients, illness survivors, volunteer workers and other advocates) to interact and discuss the complexities of some of the world's most dangerous diseases. With the recent announcement of Cancer.im, Viratech is implementing social collaboration tools to construct what is likely to become the world's first experience-based healthcare search engine.
The Cancer.im format has some similarities to what is seen with Facebook (FB), Google's Google+ (GOOG) and LinkedIn (LNKD), but there are some key differences that separate Cancer.im from the pack. Viratech's innovative approach to social networking greatly builds on the work and utility of its competitors and creates some interesting long-term positioning opportunities for investors.
A New Take on Social Networking
Viratech's topic-specific Micro Social Networks (MSNs) mark a key innovation within the industry, providing spaces to collect important health content and promote these materials with news releases and platform updates which are given "authoritative status" in Google. In creating a virtual "Facebook for Cancer Patients," the process ensures higher-quality traffic will drive through the MSN, thus helping reduce advertising costs for the company. Viratech's efforts to promote and crowd-fund research and development in producing new technology are showing expansion as well. The most recent example can be found in the company's partnership with the Diabetes Network Charities, which will create a patient interactive platform for Diabetes patients.
Viratech's Innovative Revenue Models
For investors, an innovative industry product has limited value without a sound revenue model, and Viratech has structured its Cancer.im offering in ways that approach this task from a variety of directions. Cancer.im uses a unique revenue model that focuses on high-priced items sold through the MSN and are directed at a targeted audience. Costs typically associated with cancer treatments and medications are elevated when compared to items such as cellphones, digital media, and beauty products commonly sold to an internet consumer base.
The high-priced items and services in the healthcare industry (such as prescription drugs, insurance premiums, and symptom management) are associated with higher advertising costs, and Viratech will be in a position to strongly benefit from these trends. Marketing approaches on Cancer.im allow users to create advertising space on information pages that are most directly related to the products and services being offered, and the level of relevance in this space far surpasses what is available on other healthcare sites. For example, overseas clinics specializing in the treatment of Stage IV Breast Cancer could be featured on the Cancer.im social networking page which is dedicated to (and run by) Stage IV Breast Cancer patients. This level of specificity is simply not possible with most of the industry competition.
Capitalizing on Viratech's Targeted Specificity
Viratech's advertising model enables advertisers to select cost structures that are most appropriate for their products, which will likely increase competition for the available space that is offered on each page in the MSN. Users of healthcare networking sites are more inclined to be actively looking to purchase relevant products when compared to the "browsing mindset" of those using more traditional social networks. Viratech has the ability to leverage contextual ad placements for products that are both high-priced and essential, which puts the company in a position to profit from direct markets that cannot be easily accessed by most of its industry competition.
The combination of technological innovation (in an essential market) and sound revenue models (to drive future financial viability) creates a highly bullish scenario for Viratech and its subsidiaries. VIRA has seen a significant rally since last November, but at $0.32 per share the stock is trading well below its 52-week high. This presents some interesting opportunities for new investors looking to gain exposure to the stock. Recent moves to increase industry partnerships (gaining exposure to new areas such as Diabetes) suggest a growth-oriented approach at Viratech, and as long as the company maintains its innovative approach to broadcasting and content-building, the stock remains well-positioned for significant upside going forward.