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From lifesaving inhalers to big data

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Company Info:

Adherium (ADR, 2.5 cents)
Market capitalisation: $17 million
Three-year total return: –33.8% a year
Analysts’ consensus target price: n/a

Adherium is a global leader in medication compliance technology, developing devices that monitor the extent to which patients suffering chronic illness take their medications as prescribed. More than 50% of such patients do not do so, resulting in an estimated burden of US$100 billion–$300 billion ($140 billion–$420 billion) a year in avoidable direct healthcare costs in the US alone, and a US$564 billion ($794 billion) annual burden globally.

Adherium’s Hailie system (formerly known as Smartinhaler) is the world’s most clinically supported asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medication adherence solution for inhaled medicines, leading to improved health outcomes for patients with chronic respiratory disease, in more than 30 countries. The company has sold more than 170,000 connected respiratory devices around the world.

The Hailie system features medication sensors attached to patients’ existing inhalers and automatically sends usage data to their smartphone, through Bluetooth. Hailie is not only the monitoring technology and sensors, it is a cloud-based data platform, which provides real-time feedback to patients, doctors and, increasingly, healthcare payers. Using the Hailie mobile app enables both the patient and doctors to track medication adherence, set daily reminders, and discover insights into the patients’ medication usage.

Where in the past Adherium concentrated on recruiting patients to use its inhalers, and doctors to persuade their patients, in 2019 a new management team refocused the company on working with US healthcare payers and insurers, selling its systems to them as a solution to their cost pressures. Both health providers and payers such as health insurers are very keen to cut their costs, and poor medication adherence is a big source of wasted spending: they see a system like Hailie, that can deliver better and more individualised outcomes to patients, as a way to lower the overall cost while actually increasing the effectiveness of the treatment.

On top of this, there is a new US environment that reimburses doctors for using remote patient monitoring – a development that greatly incentivises doctors and hospitals to use a system like Hailie. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend.

This year, Adherium has struck two major strategic partnerships to enter the US disease management market: one with HGE Health, a full-service remote COPD disease management specialist in the US, and a second with Monaghan Medical Corporation, the specialist US respiratory device subsidiary of the Trudell Medical Group, a global leader in aerosol drug delivery devices and respiratory management solutions. To meet the requirements of this market, Adherium is currently upgrading Hailie both in the hardware and software forms, improving the system with next-generation sensors and software, with augmented physiological measurement capabilities – better measurement is integral to the doctors being reimbursed. 

Further down the track, Adherium expects a big commercial opportunity to come from monetising the data the system collects.

Adherium is a revenue-earner, but is quite some way from profitability. Its promise lies in the fact that its product is a win-win-win for patients, doctors and the entities that pay for healthcare.

 

The writer has in the past drafted ASX announcements for Adherium, through a third-party investor relations consultancy.

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