The 42nd edition of the JPMorgan Health Conference took place last week, and one of the participants was Neola Medical. The Swedish medtech is currently preparing its lung monitoring system for a clinical study in the US. BioStock spoke to the company’s CEO Hanna Sjöström to get her impressions from the conference.
Neola Medical is developing Neola, a system for continuous monitoring of the lungs of premature babies. The system has been developed to enable healthcare providers to detect complications better and faster. The hope is that more children will survive and have a life without serious disabilities.
Establishing itself in the US
The company is in full swing preparing for clinical studies with the system, which are intended to be conducted in the US. In 2023, there was a lot of focus on establishing operations in the country, where an office was set up and a subsidiary was also registered. During the autumn, the company was also designated as a so-called Impact1 company by Stanford University, and it has thus been able to make important contacts in the preparations.
JPMorgan Healthcare Conference attendance
As the development of the Neola system continues, a lot of effort is put into marketing the project, making sure that they are on the radar of the bigger medtech players. Doing this, CEO Hanna Sjöström recently represented the company at the JPMorgan Health Conference, which took place January 8 – 11 in San Francisco, USA.
The conference is the largest healthcare conference in the world and an important meeting point for the industry. Many major partnership deals are announced in connection with the event and big pharma usually takes the opportunity to update on the development and give its view on the future.
Comments from the CEO
BioStock contacted Sjöström in connection with the conference, to get her impressions and to find out more about the interest in the company’s development.
To begin with, Hanna, you’ve just returned from the JPMorgan Health Conference. What are your impressions?
– It has been a very interesting conference where I once again had the opportunity to meet many investors and industry partners in life science from all over the world, especially American players. The conference really brings the industry together and that way we get updates on the latest developments in the industry and the trends ahead. In medtech, AI models and the FDA’s perspective on these are discussed. There were a lot of people, and it was a lively conference filled with good energy and willingness to cooperate.
The JPMorgan Health Conference, is the largest conference in this sector. How do you reach out as a smaller player?
– Like in previous years, this year’s conference has focused on cost savings in healthcare and better access for more people to treatment. A company like Neola Medical, with a focus on advanced medical technology that can make a difference from day one in healthcare, by quickly finding and preventing complications, has good conditions to reach out among many big names in the industry.
– The fact that our medical technology can shorten the time spent in expensive neonatal intensive care and give more patients a healthier life is clearly a convincing factor.
The conference is also an opportunity to talk to potential partners and investors, how did that go?
– We have a well-developed network of potential partners and investors who have followed us for several years and whom we met during the conference. The feedback we get is that they are impressed that we set ambitious milestones and also reach them on time. The commercial development of the company has been rapid and successful in 2023 and this is something that is being noticed.
During the autumn, you initiated a collaboration with the prestigious Stanford University. What importance does that bring when discussing with with potential stakeholders?
– For American investors and partners, it is of great importance to collaborate with America’s leading universities and its neonatologists. It´s a quality stamp for us as a company, and it also opens the doors to more partners and investors from the Stanford network.
– Teaching hospitals such as Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto Stanford University are an important initial target group for Neola Medical, as they are more likely to invest in new equipment and want to try new procedures to renew care. This has been confirmed through the Stanford Impact1 programme, and being part of this exclusive network is invaluable for our market establishment in the US, but also significant in the rest of the world.
– Another important part of the commercialisation plan for the US market has been that we as a company know how to relate to the US reimbursement systems and regulatory processes in the US in order to get an FDA-approved product.
– By having the opportunity for informal discussions around market launch and regulatory with experts from the FDA and Stanford, we can develop a strategy for reimbursement from the US healthcare and insurance systems and work according to an FDA approved plan in our verification and selection studies for a market approved product.
You recently managed to raise 20 MSEK in a directed share issue. How important is the financial aspect of the company when discussing with potential future partners and investors?
– The financial aspect is always important in discussions with future partners and investors. The fact that we manage to raise capital from a new investor and at a premium to the share price in the current tough investment climate stands out. This shows that the company has followed its goals according to plan and has had a good development over the years, which means that strong players in the industry have followed us and want to invest in the company long-term. It shows the confidence and strength of our team and our business plan.
What kind of questions do you get and what is the interest in your lung monitoring system?
– In general, there is great interest in new technology in lung monitoring and respiration among established industrial companies, as the area is strategically interesting and has growth potential. With Philips downsizing its neonatology portfolio, there are a number of US players who see it as an opportunity to grow and gain market share through innovation.
– For us, it is important that we have great clinical support for Neola, where not least neonatologists from Stanford highlight that our medical technology has the potential to really change how we monitor the lungs of premature babies.The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.