Fighting cancer through early detection remains the focus of Verisante Technology (VRSEF). After putting together a talented team of scientists, researchers, medical engineers, and financial professionals, the Canadian-based company, formed in 2006, has worked diligently to promote two early detection devices – Verisante Aura and Verisante Core (a detection line made up of multiple devices). These devices help detect the presence of skin, lung, cervical, and gastro-intestinal cancers.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 2 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of skin cancer this year. Skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and non-melanoma rank among the most common forms. The Verisante Aura helps detect early warning signs of these cancers so medical professionals can work quickly to treat infected areas before the cancer spreads.
Using Raman Spectroscopy technology, the Verisante Aura scans skin legions to detect the presence of specific skin abnormalities. These abnormalities help physicians determine whether cancer is present. This procedure reduces the frequency of painful and uncomfortable skin biopsies, traditionally used in the past to detect skin cancer.
Developed by the BC Cancer Agency working in conjunction with the University of British Columbia, the Verisante Aura gives physicians more time to adequately treat skin cancer and puts patients at ease as early detection greatly increases survival and treatment rates. Patients with melanoma who receive early treatment increase their likelihood for survival about 99%.
Treating skin cancer early also saves in medical costs. Treating melanoma early costs about $1,800 – patients that wait not only decrease their chances for survival, but also have to pay an average of $170,000 to treat late-stage cancer.
In addition to owning exclusive worldwide rights to distribute the Verisante Aura, the company also coordinates the manufacturing of the devices. Recently, Verisante accepted two pre-delivery units of the device manufactured by StarFish Medical. This means that the company should be ready to distribute the first round of devices by the end of 2012. Verisante currently has permission to sell Verisante Aura devices in Canada, Europe and Australia, and seeks additional permission to sell the devices in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil.
In 2011, Popular Science Magazine awarded the Verisante Aura a “Best of What’s New Award.”
The Verisante Core also relies on Raman Spectrophy to scan and detect lung cancer. Through testing and further evaluation, this technology can be used to detect other types of cancer, including cervical and gastro-intestinal.
For now, researchers want to focus on using the technology to detect lung cancer and reduce the number of patients that need a lung biopsy for positive identification as the biopsy procedure is invasive and uncomfortable. The Verisante Core has undergone over 50 patient tests. Under supervision of the BC Cancer Agency, this device has proven very successful.
The Canadian Cancer Society named the device “one of the top 10 cancer breakthroughs” for 2011. More testing and research is scheduled before the device becomes available for use.
Investing in Verisante
Verisante was founded on the belief that it can provide practical medical devices that can save countless lives. With numerous studies performed using both the Verisante Aura and Verisante Core, both devices should prove very valuable to the medical community once they become available in the U.S.
Permission to sell medical devices requires approval from a variety of health and safety agencies around the world. This means the company will have to submit findings, clinical trial results, testimonials, and other documents that back up its claims. The company may have to conduct additional testing before it can legally sell these devices. This can be a laborious process that could take several years.
Other companies like MELA Sciences (MELA), which received FDA approval for its skin cancer detection device MelaFind in late 2011, and MedX Health (MDX), which received FDA approval for its skin cancer detection device MoleMate in 2011, also use scanning technology to determine the presence of cancerous skin legions. But, Verisante’s technology is superior, as it uses Raman spectroscopy to target 100% of skin cancers with 99% sensitivity and 15% specificity. MelaFind’s multi-spectral imaging targets 4% of skin cancers with 90% sensitivity and 21% specificity. Molemate was “found to be less accurate than GP’s using their eyes and judgment.” Cost and accuracy will still play a huge role in helping the company distinguish its devices from those already on the market. Obtaining additional approval, such as FDA approval to sell the devices in the U.S., will benefit the company even more.
Verisante held $7.96 million in total assets in the first quarter of 2012, which included equipment, property, and distribution rights. This is a healthy figure for a company that was only recently granted permission to start selling products in certain markets. Since the company’s financials only go back to 2009, there isn’t much to look at in terms of its financial history. But with all the positive reviews and awards for its devices, investors should keep an open mind when it comes to considering the company as an investment.
Transparency/Disclosure: I am not a registered investment advisor and do not provide specific investment advice. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research. I am a consultant to a third-party and have received two thousand dollars for a full month’s coverage of independent research. Always discuss investments with a licensed professional advisor before making any financial decisions. Statements made herein are often “forward-looking statements” as stipulated under Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While I have researched this company thoroughly, my due diligence is not a substitute for your own.