A key catalyst that is just months away could launch Implant Sciences (IMSC.PK) into the mainstream of homeland defense and global security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently reviewing Implant's explosives and narcotics trace detection technology for approval for use in the United States and a potential positive approval ruling would not only provide a key catalyst for the IMSC share price, but it would open the doors for Implant to quickly become a global leader in providing airport and air cargo security, among other security-related services.
It's expected that a formal announcement regarding the approval will come in late August.
Based on moves into multiple global markets already this year, Implant shares have already been on the steady rise. IMSC opened 2012 in the sixty cent range, then dipped into the fifties before rebounding on a slew of announcements of new orders for the Quantum Sniffer (QS) explosive detection products. The highlight of these orders might have been the key selection of Implant's QSB220 by the Colombian National Police to take part in a layered defense plan in Cartagena, Colombia during the Sixth Summit of the Americas a couple of months ago. While America's Secret Service agents stole the show and headlines at that event, Implant Sciences and its groundbreaking technology quietly played a key role in ensuring the security of 34 different heads of state of the Americas at an event that might have transformed the hemisphere.
Such international arrangements have become commonplace throughout 2012.
In addition to the Colombia announcement, Implant has also signed deals to employ its technology in China, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and other regions of the world, all while its products were being put through the process of becoming validated by the TSA for use in the United States.
Needless to say, a positive approval decision from the TSA would open up a considerably larger market for the company, as many nations of the world (Japan, for example) rely on the 'approval list' of the US TSA as their own foundation for approving new security systems and technology.
Given the depth of the market that Implant could potentially penetrate following the approval, this milestone could provide a catalyst as key for Implant Sciences as a positive FDA drug approval would for a small pharmaceutical or biotech company.
It's that big a deal.
Adding even more strength to the power of this pending catalyst is the fact that come December 3, 2012, the TSA has mandated that ALL air cargo on passenger airliners will be screened for explosives. This is huge, since it's currently assumed that only 10% of such cargo is currently inspected. If Implant does receive an August approval for the use of its technology, then the impending December date means that revenue could quickly start rolling in as Implant may have the only technology currently available that could meet the expected standards of throughput that would be required to test 100% of air cargo traffic.
Implant's technology, which includes the bench top QS-B220 explosives and narcotics trace detector and the QS-H150 portable explosives detector, has significant advantages over any competition that is already on the market.
Possibly the most significant advantage is that the ionization process used to detect explosives and/or narcotics uses no radioactive particles. The competition cannot boast such claims, which raises safety concerns for personnel using and being inspected by competing technology, as well as adding layers of licensing and approval procedures that would not be relevant to Implant - but would be for the competition.
Just as significant is the quick "clear down" in Implant's technology. The "clear down" is the amount of time needed for a system to 'reset' itself and become available for use to continue inspections and detections. Again, Implant's Quantum Sniffer boasts major advantages over the market competition and can complete this process within seconds. Considering the throughput that will need to be achieved to meet the TSA's December mandate, this is a huge benefit and advantage for Implant.
Additional advantages, as outlined on Implant's website, are very high ratings for accuracy - especially when compared to x-ray - and extremely low 'false positive' rates.
For those considering a 'patriotic play', it's also worth noting that Implant is thus far the only American company making a huge play into the homeland security market with similar technology, maybe adding another distinct advantage over competitors, such as the UK's Smith's Detection (SMGZY).
In addition to the validation being given Implant Sciences as a result of a novel technology, some key additions to the management team have also added a layer of credibility and potentially given the company an 'in' with relevant entities in the homeland defense arena.
Dr. Bill McGann, a pioneer of trace detection technology, was appointed just months ago as the Chief Operating Officer of Implant Sciences and added as a member of the company's Board. Dr. McGann co-founded Ion Track Instruments, the first ETD provider to receive TSA certification, and subsequently sold that company to General Electric (GE) for nearly $200 million before becoming the Chief Technology Officer for GE Security.
Upon his hiring, Dr. McGann noted, "Following the progress of Implant Sciences closely over the past year, I have seen enough to know that this Company has the technology, distribution infrastructure and management team to execute as leaders in the ETD space and transform the security equipment industry by delivering new technology solutions at security points across the world. I am very pleased to join the team and advance the Company."
Timing is everything and the addition of McGann to the team, and his Rolodex of contacts, too, at such a pivotal point in the company's development could prove to be quite the clutch play.
The company also recently added Dr. Darryl Jones as the VP of Sales and Marketing. Dr. Jones is also heavily-embedded in the homeland security market and is also a veteran of GE Security, as well as having a tour under his belt of leading sales and marketing for Safran's Morpho Detection.
Already having recognized significant gains this year, that could all have just been the start for Implant Sciences. With the key TSA approval expected to take place just months away, and with security agencies and administrations ready to ramp-up procedures in anticipation of the TSA's December deadline, Implant is primed to jump head-first in a booming industry that may still only be in the earlier stages of growth, given the continued global threat of small-scale terrorism.
Even after this year's significant rise in share price, Implant is still only carrying a market cap of just over thirty million. Should the milestones evolve as expected, that number could later be proven as just a foundation for huge growth.
Any potential pullbacks could prove to be quite the opportune buying time for a company that may soon become a leader in homeland defense and global security, but which still trades relatively under-the-radar for now.
Keep a keen eye on IMSC moving forward. The expected milestones could prove to be huge.
Disclosure: I am long IMSC.PK.