Access Pharma (OTCQB:ACCP-OLD) announced an e-Marketing deal today with iMedicor (VMCI.OB) for the commercial launch of MuGard through the latter’s targeted marketing / education Alerts System application through NaviNet, which is a secure network of over 700,000 healthcare providers and support staff. Over 200,000 oncology-related clinicians in the U.S. will be targeted with information on MuGard and the treatment of oral mucositis, with an expected commercial launch before year-end.
While terms of the deal are undisclosed, I have confirmed with Access CEO, Jeffrey Davis, that the deal is structured as a performance-based royalty – which is reasonable since e-Marketing has great potential for new drugs, devices, and diagnostics, but the economics, financial metrics, and performance results have yet to be determined. Mr. Davis also stated that the concept of e-Marketing among pharmaceutical companies is very important right now and has also attracted the attention of big pharma as more cost-effective and efficient means of targeted marketing / education directly to healthcare providers and staff as an alternative to direct-to-consumer advertising and sales reps.
- An online social media / referral network for physicians, healthcare professionals, and patients to share personal health information.
- Free HIPAA-compliant email, secure messaging services for small and large clinics as well as hospitals.
- An integration driver for use with Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Personal Health Records, which currently exist largely on a stand-alone basis with incompatible technology platforms and an inability to communicate with each other.
- Free accredited CME courses for healthcare professionals to meet their continuing education requirements and stay informed with new product / device approvals and treatment options (such as the MuGard deal announced today with Access).
iMedicor offers a HIPAA-compliant solution for interoperable medical information transfer that is offered at no cost to physicians, healthcare providers, and patients. The iMedicor portal operates via secure messaging specifically designed to compliment clinical workflow, and it meets the requirement of President Obama’s plan for an interoperable health information infrastructure and the conversion of all medical files from paper to electronic records by 2015. Using iMedicor, health information can be exchanged across disparate Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems to communicate, collaborate, and exchange medical records for referrals and patient communications.
The Company’s business model is established on the three core strengths of its network, including:
- Physician Network: iMedicor has access to over 95% of physicians in the U.S., representing approximately 730,000 doctors and an associated 1.5 million support staff.
- Ease of Use and Level of Security: iMedicor’s network provides complete seamless / encrypted interoperability between disparate EHR systems and provides full HIPAA-compliant security for encrypted document transmission – representing a disruptive technology with the potential to bring about much needed changes and improvements to the current system of EHRs which are not connected and do not communicate with each other.
- Medical / Social Networking: The network is designed as a physician-centric social network that is similar to Facebook or LinkedIn with a growing feature set of programs / applications that make it attractive to physicians. In addition, the portal / applications will be made available this fall on handheld devices with voice activation software. iMedicor also offers a full range of social networking services, specifically designed to support physicians such as specialized emails, advertising, blogging with peers, and referral network-building.
iMedicor’s network also offers access to the nation’s largest prescription refill service through a partnership with eRxNetwork which will be available over handhelds this fall and expanded to include e-prescribing and additional prescription networks. In addition, the Company’s network includes a unique video library and a full-service CME offering.
iMedicor expects to make money by providing targeted marketing to this physician network for selected products from medical device / diagnostic and bio-pharmaceutical companies while also providing point-of-care disease management / medication adherence messaging on behalf of health insurance plans, pharmacy benefits managers and pharmaceutical companies. iMedicor can target specific physicians and deliver focused messages and content in an unobtrusive manner from a trusted source. The message content will offer a complete range of action items for the product being advertised while providing the physician with flexibility with regard to accessing the information presented and then measuring the outcomes / responses in real-time.
To date, there have been no internet based advertising programs that have produced an acceptable ROI to the industry and iMedicor expects to change this while targeting a significant market opportunity in the tens of billions of dollars for pharmaceutical advertising. The revenue model for iMedicor will be transaction-based or revenue-sharing with cash flow from early advertising models expected to begin during early 4Q09.
On 9/30/09, iMedicor announced the successful completion of the pilot project of its first direct-to-pharmacy, electronic prescription refill technology via its HIPAA-compliant information exchange portal. Following the successful launch, all 225 of the pilot pharmacy’s outlets went live, well ahead of the projected schedule. This service is free to both the participating physician and pharmacy members of the iMedicor portal to eliminate the manual process of faxing prescription renewal requests and errors associated with handwritten prescription forms while expediting the process of obtaining refills for patients.
In mid-September, iMedicor and Transgenomic (TBIO.OB) announced that they have signed an agreement to develop an educational marketing program for NuroPro, Transgenomic’s diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The alerts-based Internet program will target neurologists, gerontologists and primary care physicians to announce the commercial launch of Transgenomic’s NuroPro assays for these devastating neurological diseases.
In late August, iMedicor announced that it entered a partnership with PhoneTag, the leader in voicemail-to-text services and visual voicemail applications. Through this partnership, physicians and healthcare providers will have access to transcription services on their mobile device of choice. The basic service will be free to all users with a premium monthly subscription upgrade available.
The e-Marketing deal and pending domestic MuGard launch is part of Access Pharma’s strategy that also includes ongoing discussions for a potential licensing / marketing agreement with a major oncology-related bio-pharmaceutical company for North America. In addition, Access previously announced a manufacturing agreement with Accupac (a leading liquid contract manufacturing company in PA) and continues to speak with key opinion leaders in the U.S. to conduct post-approval marketing studies in conjunction with the commercial / e-Marketing launch in the U.S. The statistics outlined below for the incidence of cancer and oral mucositis make MuGard a potential blockbuster, billion dollar plus product.
The Medscape eMedicine entry for Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis estimates that about 400,000 patients per year in both the U.S. and international markets may develop acute or chronic oral complications during chemotherapy. Some degree of OM occurs in about 40% of patients who receive cancer chemotherapy while at least 75% of patients who receive conditioning regimens (chemotherapy with or without total body irradiation) in preparation for hematopoietic cell transplantation develop OM. The incidence is also higher in patients who receive continuous infusion therapy for breast and colon cancer and in those who receive adjuvant therapy for head and neck tumors.
Based on National Cancer Institute statistics, the incidence (number of diagnoses) of cancer in the U.S. is expected to be about 1.5 million people in 2009. Please note this number does not even include any patients receiving chemo / radiation therapy who were previously diagnosed with cancer (i.e. prevalence includes individuals who are newly diagnosed, in active treatment, have completed active treatment, and those living with progressive symptoms of their disease). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that cancer rates (i.e. incidence) could further increase by 50% to 15 million new cases in 2020 from 10 million new cases diagnosed globally in 2000.
MuGard is currently being evaluated in approximately 1,000 patients in Europe (Germany, Italy, U.K.) by SpePharm in multiple post-marketing studies that include 7-week treatment cycles. A steady stream of data is expected by Access over the next three months, including final results from the previously announced U.K trial interim results – in addition to the initiation of similar studies in the U.S. The study results will serve as catalysts for the stock price / trading volume and will support the ongoing global commercial launch of MuGard (more launches pending in Far East and Europe) while generating additional clinical data that can be presented to oncologists (through the iMedicor portal and other channels) to validate the role of the product as the standard of care for both the treatment and prevention of oral mucositis.
iMedicor represents a derivative play on the FDA Calendar Extreme Trade series which is leveraged to the commercial success / targeted marketing of new medical products, devices, and diagnostics. In addition, the nature of early-stage e-Marketing deals incentivizes iMedicor to achieve success in order to earn performance based shared revenue and validate its business model for more lucrative deals / terms in the future. iMedicor has a sound business model and is only an extreme trade due to its low share price / cash balance and high number of shares outstanding – however, the stock is trading at nearly the same price as Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CTIC) when I featured it as a turnaround / extreme trade play in early February at about 8 cents per share; so the Company’s future will ultimately depend on executing its e-Marketing business model and expanding into related products / services through NaviNet.
Disclosure: Long ACCP.OB.
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