NEW YORK, July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In a time of a pandemic, new innovations solutions to health problems are in need. One group of devices that got more attention as a result are wearable devices. The growing popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, as well as the rising population of more technologically adept persons is expected to drive the demand. Before the pandemic, wearables for medical purposes were also gaining momentum, in part thanks to concerns of obesity and other chronic diseases. This, in part, has led to the adoption of wearable products such as body monitors and activity trackers. Such devices offer real-time information about the user's overall health and were designed to collect and report information such as blood pressure, oxygen levels, quality and quantity of sleep, calorie intake, cholesterol levels, heartbeat monitoring, along with other information required by the body for day-to-day activities. Furthermore, according to Grand View Research, Inc., the global wearable technology market size was valued at USD 32.63 Billion in 2019 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.9% from 2020 to 2027. Nemaura Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: NMRD), Aytu BioScience, Inc. (NASDAQ: AYTU), Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: COCP), OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
The recent outbreak has further helped expand the role of wearable technologies in healthcare systems. Some companies have realized the potential in such devices and, as a result, wearable technology that was previously used for other purpose was adjusted or improved to fit in the healthcare systems. Same is true for a wide spectrum of digital technology. The medical journal, The Lancet, indicates that, "Digital health technology can facilitate pandemic strategy and response in ways that are difficult to achieve manually. Countries such as South Korea have integrated digital technology into government-coordinated containment and mitigation processes—including surveillance, testing, contact tracing, and strict quarantine—which could be associated with the early flattening of their incidence curves." Of course, biotechnology and personal protective equipment have also benefited from a rise of demand.
Nemaura Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: NMRD) earlier in April, announced "plans for a new product line by seeking to immediately repurpose sugarBEAT® as a CTM since its inbuilt temperature sensor is capable of continuously tracking body temperature through the skin. Nemaura is considering various options to expedite the launch of a CTM, including potential partnerships and direct to consumer sales.
CTM's have been recognised as potentially having a key role to play in battling COVID-19, with Google's Verily announcing plans to develop a small body worn temperature patch that transmits data to a phone application to provide timely notification of fever and support earlier diagnosis and treatment of viral infections like the flu or coronavirus1. Nemaura's body worn skin patch designed to monitor glucose levels on the skin at 5 minute intervals also contains a thermistor which measures skin temperature as an integral part of the device, and we believe that the device could easily be repurposed for this standalone function. The CGM device is CE approved in Europe and in commercial production in the UK.
'We see a significant commercial opportunity to utilise our BEAT® platform technology specifically for CTM purposes with data being automatically sent by low energy Bluetooth to a mobile phone app from which it can then be reviewed by the user and/or sent to a family member or caregiver. We believe that there are parallels between family members and caregivers remotely monitoring glucose fluctuations in a person, and monitoring fever caused by viral infections, providing a means of remote tracking and intervention. In the current climate we see this as an opportunity to contribute to general wellbeing and patient management' stated Dr. Faz Chowdhury, Nemaura's CEO.
Several diseases including COVID-19 are characterised by fever (an increase in body temperature) meaning that temperature monitoring can be a vital tool in the detection of such conditions and consequently a potential means of containing the spread of the disease through early self-isolation. Measuring body temperature on a continuous basis may also be used to track the course of a disease and so allow physicians to analyse the effectiveness of treatments and thus pro-actively adapt to improve outcomes.
Dr. Chowdhury further stated 'body temperature can vary depending on the age of the person, their level of (recent) physical activity, the time the measurement is taken and importantly where on the body the temperature is taken. For this reason, I believe that the ability to track the temperature continuously over time and measure the rate at which it is rising or falling would be a superior form of monitoring a person than sporadic measurements taken using a more traditional thermometer.'
We believe that multiple other future uses are foreseen for a CTM including tracking ovulation to improve the chances of conception and for predicting/preventing diabetes related foot complications such as ulcers which can eventually lead to amputation if not detected early enough, whereby poor blood circulation can be rapidly detected by continuous temperature monitoring of the affected region. Further details are provided in a publication on the company's website: https://nemauramedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/NMRD-Temp-Monitoring-USA-March-2020-FINAL-V1.1.pdf
Nemaura is establishing the regulatory framework for launching the CTM in a number of worldwide territories, including initial immediate use to provide qualitative indications without disease diagnosis."
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Aytu BioScience, Inc. (NASDAQ: AYTU) announced last week that the Company has signed a distribution agreement with Apollo Med Innovations, Inc. ("Apollo") to distribute the COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette to Apollo's network of over 1,000 practices across the United States. This distribution relationship expands the Company's coverage of clinician and professional customers to a large network of medical clinics, clinical laboratories, and wellness centers. Apollo is also engaged with a growing number of employers and municipalities in offering their COVID-19 testing services. Through Apollo's introduction of innovative research-based COVID-19 testing protocols and their offering of comprehensive laboratory support services, this distribution relationship significantly expands the Company's COVID-19 potential user base.
Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: COCP) provided back in May an update on the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on its preclinical and clinical development programs. "We have reprioritized development activities to accelerate the advancement of our preclinical COVID-19 program, which we recently established as a result of our license agreements with Kansas State University Research Foundation (KSRF)," commented Dr. Gary Wilcox, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cocrystal. "Like many of our peers, we have been working to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations. While we have been able to mitigate some of the risks, the worldwide impact on supply chains has resulted in a delay to our fully owned influenza A virus program. The full impact of COVID-19 on our development programs remains uncertain, but our team is determined to advance preclinical and clinical development programs across our pipeline as quickly and efficiently as possible."
OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK) together BioReference Laboratories, Inc., announced last week that it will conduct COVID-19 testing for all Major League Soccer (MLS) players as well as match officials, and Club and League staff participating in the MLS is Back Tournament. MLS has chosen BioReference as its laboratory to assist in informing its return-to-play policies for the Tournament kicking off in Orlando in early July. "We are honored to be providing testing solutions to Major League Soccer as it prepares to restart its season," said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories. "The leadership of MLS worked diligently with us to develop a COVID-19 PCR and antibody testing strategy with the goal of providing the safest possible environment for the players, coaches and staff to begin to play again."
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced back in April a collaboration between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. to support the manufacturing of its lead investigational COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This is the first in a series of prospective global collaboration agreements designed to accelerate manufacturing of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and further the Company's goal to supply more than one billion doses of the vaccine globally. Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson, said, "We have set a high bar. Johnson & Johnson has committed to rapidly produce and supply more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally. Our collaboration with Emergent is proof that we are moving quickly to deliver on that promise."
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