How Did We Miss This Multi-billion Dollar Sector?
Our latest round of healthcare sector analysis, has our eyes fixated on one segment in particular—Vision Therapy, and we can’t stop staring at: EyeCarrot Innovations Corp. (TSX.V: EYC / OTC: EYCCF), a junior med tech company that’s revolutionizing vision care with a disruptive technology that’s already treating and enhancing functional visual system performance.
While much of the market’s attention towards healthcare’s focus resides on new drug development, the vision care market has been quietly exploding, and receiving billions in new investment from several large players in the field. Eyes are big business, around the globe.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 253 million people live with vision impairment—36 million are blind, and 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment. However, new research is finding previously overlooked causes for concern among poor vision sufferers, including the rise of a condition known as binocular vision dysfunction, which has been labeled by experts in the field as a new pandemic.
In the vision care market, the most commonly identified visual issues are treated with glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medication, leaving many visual performance issues undiagnosed or mistreated.
We’ve found a proprietary technology that has the potential to make an incredible impact on the vision care sector, and is nearly infinitely scalable. The gains being made by this technology are remarkable, and the adoption of the platform is growing significantly as it is introduced in optometry offices and vision care centers across North America.
There is a growing need for ongoing vision therapy, rather than using drugs and surgeries to improve human performance. Vision therapy involves treating visual issues connected to learning disabilities, amblyopia, strabismus, convergence insufficiency, brain injury and their related conditions.
Investment and acquisitions in visions care are SIGNIFICANTLY UP — Majors seeing BIG GAINS
Earlier this year, healthcare products giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced it plans to bet heavily on vision care, by expanding its reach far beyond just contact lenses. The company couldn’t ignore the massive spike in sales it witnessed, increasing quarterly sales year over year hitting $1.12 billion, up from $798 million during the same quarter a year prior.
J&J is very pleased with its vision care division, and has expansionary plans ahead, not only in new physical products, but in software and hardware offerings as well. Starting in 2016, J&J increased its vision care footprint by acquiring eye surgery company Abbott Medical Optics for $4.33 billion—a deal that was completed in early 2017, and ultimately gave J&J a portfolio that included products for cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery, and also consumer eye health products.
Johnson & Johnson weren’t done there, later acquiring TearScience (makes devices to treat dry eye) and Sightbox (membership-based subscription contact lens service). With a ramping up of investment in vision care already announced, it’s plausible to assume that J&J isn’t done acquiring assets for its eye care empire.
With a proven platform that’s being adopted and implemented by vision specialists at a growing rate, EyeCarrot and its Binovi technology could be a healthy target for a major such as J&J in the very near future.
One of the LARGEST and FASTEST-GROWING segments in healthcare
According to Tom Frinzi, Worldwide President of Surgical at J&J Vision, eye health represents an $80 billion market— the third largest behind cardiology and oncology. Frinzi cites the World Health Organization’s estimate of 253 million people living with a vision impairment.
For a company such as Johnson & Johnson, which has a market cap north of $331 billion, finding ways to grow requires much attention and a steady hand. At the moment, the big developments for J&J are in vision— in particular through medical devices.
“I would say it really starts with the space of sight, and sight matters, we like to say. It’s one of the largest and fastest growing segments in health care, and we think there’s still a lot of unmet need,” says Ashley McEvoy, Johnson’s & Johnson’s Group Chair of Consumer Medical Devices.
“What (the vision team is) doing is really evolving the business model to better serve more patients, quite frankly, and create a much better customer experience behind some really modern and differentiated technology and ways to service patients.”
As J&J seeks new products and devices to help address vision care, analysts are pouring over the numbers to find where the fastest growing segments in the space currently are.
With its global reach, J&J figures it can reach consumers around the globe, both young and old. As patients are living longer and more active lives, many are also undergoing strains and vision disorders at younger ages.
Binocular vision dysfunction effects an estimated 1 in 4 of the ENTIRE GLOBAL population. Eyecarrot’s platforms screen and rehabilitate impacted patients through proprietary software and exercises. As well, eye doctors using the platform with their patients insist that even the other 3 out of 4 can benefit from Binovi to reach higher levels of ocular performance.
Eyecarrot believes their products has the potential to positively affect hundreds of millions of people — and WE AGREE.
In terms of revenue, the company aims to one day generate even $1/year from every user—Citing that a popular platform such as Facebook makes approximately $10-15/year from their user base, Eyecarrot believes the $1 per-year-per-user model is a conservative estimate. Since the platform can be utilized through installing an easy-to-obtain app on smart devices including phones, the scalability of the Binovi program is practically infinite.
Vision Technology and E-Health are major growth areas with few revenue-generating junior options in play, but plenty of major vision care giants involved
FEATURE COMPANY: FOR COMPARISON
EyeCarrot Innovations Corp. develops and commercializes visual and neuro-cognitive processing products for screening and remediating visual perception disorders. The company’s products include Binovi Pro, which allows clinicians to manage various aspects of their vision therapy practice; Binovi Coach, a patient-facing app that helps patients to complete home therapy plans, track progress, and stay informed; Binovi Saccadic, which is controlled through the Binovi Pro app for connecting and communicating wirelessly; and Binovi Kit that is a collection of industry standard materials for use in complementing home activities.
Vision Tech Sector Comparables: All Possible Dance Partners for Future Acquisition
These stocks represent some of the leading players in the vision and healthcare sector, all of which have made major advancements including breakthrough treatments and bringing highly successful products to market. Not all are pure-play vision technology companies, but they are good examples of the level of success that the vision care and e-heath markets are experiencing.
Market Cap: $170.418 billion
Novartis AG researches, develops, manufactures, and markets a range of healthcare products worldwide. The Alcon segment offers eye care products, such as eye care devices for cataract, retinal, glaucoma, and refractive surgery, as well as intraocular lenses to treat cataracts and refractive errors; viscoelastics, surgical solutions, surgical packs, and other disposable products for cataract and vitreoretinal surgery; and contact lenses, as well as contact lens care products, including multi-purpose and hydrogen-peroxide based solutions, rewetting drops, and daily protein removers.
National Vision Holdings, Inc.
Market Cap: $2.685 billion
National Vision Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer and manufacturer of eyeglasses and value retailer of contact lenses. The company operates through Owned and Host, and Legacy segments. It offers eyeglasses and contact lenses, as well as optometric services. As of July 1, 2017, the company operated 980 retail stores, as well as 19 e-commerce Websites. National Vision Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.
Bausch + Lomb (Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.)
NYSE: VRX, TSX: VRX
Market Cap: $8.715 billion
As a leading global eye health company, and wholly-owned subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Bausch + Lomb is leading the way with a contact lens recycling program. Since launching in November 2016, the ONE by ONE Recycling Program has recycled nearly 2.5 million used contact lenses, blister packs and top foils, diverting more than 14,000 pounds of waste from landfills. Bausch + Lomb also made headlines by presenting more than 20 new scientific data presentations at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
Johnson & Johnson
Market Cap: $331.836 billion
Johnson & Johnson’s vision portfolio is taking centre stage among the company’s asset line, with its vision care sales up more than 40% year over year last quarter. J&J is beefing up its fastest-growing lines, including medical devices, as well as the eye surgery space, which it entered in 2016. Not to be outdone by any of its competitors, J&J is making all kinds of technological breakthroughs in the field of eye care, including its recently introduced “Andy”, a virtual assistant chatbot. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Andy is designed to help guide US consumers through the company’s ACUVUE Brand Contact Lens journey—from first time wearers to long-term veterans of the contact lens game. Among those products contacts wearers will be able to select from will be the market’s very first transitioning lenses with a dynamic photochromic filter.
Vision Therapy WORKS — Now it’s time for it to spread
In the world of healthcare, vision specialists serve a massive number of people with treatment for a wide variety of issues. As well, vision issues can even effect those with 20/20 vision, if their alignment is off—causing headaches and fatigue, and ultimately leading to a drop in overall performance.
“Vision is regarded as the human being’s dominant sense through which more is directed and learned than from any other sense,” says Selwyn Super, the chief scientific officer at Eyecarrot Innovations Corp.
Vision impairment can be much more than just refractory errors that lead to nearsightedness or astigmatism. Half of all our twelve pairs of cranial nerves are directly or indirectly related to vision and are part of the brain’s Oculomotor Sensory (OMS) system.
“Traditional vision care in the modern world is largely dominated by prescribing lenses and frames to address visual acuity,” said Eyecarrot President & CEO Adam Cegielski in an interview with Equities.com. “There’s a tremendous amount that can be done to actually enhance your vision and how your vision system performs.”
The company’s leading product, the Binovi platform (short for Binocular Vision), has already racked up the accolades among its peers— Winner of prestigious industry awards, including Best in Show at Cantech 2016 and MEDy Awards finalist at Exponential Medicine 2015, Eyecarrot’s Binovi system is a prime example of the industry-wide shift towards e-health solutions. This includes technology created to provide coaching and screening over distances.
According to Grand View Research, the global e-health market could reach $308 billion in value by 2022, thanks to the rise of mobile technology and the increasing use of home healthcare. Binovi allows vision specialists to stay in touch with their patients as they improve their vision health through the platform’s proprietary therapy techniques, and through secure data sharing.
Eyecarrot, has a first-mover advantage in the eye to brain treatment category and they are poised to lead this lucrative marketplace.
Seeing Global Vision Care for what it is: A Large Market with Double Digit CAGR
“Today, one in four people — that’s nearly 2 billion people worldwide—have visual performance issues that go beyond the ability to see clearly,” says Eyecarrot CEO Adam Cegielski. These problems manifest themselves in “reading and learning challenges, poor athletic performance and incomplete recovery from concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.”
The Binovi platform provides an effective solution for over six key markets in order to help address vision performance issues:
- Education and Learning: 7 million children with ADHD and about 50% on medication for eye/brain related issues
- Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury: 3 to 4 million individuals per year
- Sports Performance: Top 5 team sports played by an estimated 75 million participants
- Healthy Aging: 36 million drivers over age 65
- Fitness: 55 million gym members
- Specialty Medicine: an average of 1.2 million Strabismus* surgeries per year
That’s a ready-made market of over 178 million potential patients in need of the solutions offered through the Binovi innovation.
*Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes, inward or outward when looking at an object. The disorder can be treated with vision therapy alone or in combination with surgery, which involved operating on the extraocular muscles. It is the third most common eye surgery in the US.
Binovi Continues to Rack Up Major Milestones
The company has also formed partnerships with critical tech providers, like its agreement with Microsoft to provide software, services and support. The strategic partnership with Microsoft valued at $500,000 in services, software and support via their BizSpark Plus program.
Microsoft’s azure platform allows EyeCarrot to scale globally, which they are already doing with the release of the product in Spain. Today, their product is being used on 5 continents around the world, North America, Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Released in May 2017, the Binovi Platform has now reached critical success needed to advance Eyecarrot and generate serious market buzz.
Here’s what stands out for EYC.V / EYCCF:
- Its Binovi™ platform positions Eyecarrot as the first-mover in this market, with exclusive rights to the world’s leading vision therapy educators to produce instructional videos for its mobile platform.
- The Management and Board include well-respected, top-tier vision scientist and doctors including Dr. Selwyn Super, Dr. John Flannagan, Dean of Optometry at UC Berkley and Dr. Patrick Quaid.
- Highly focused on three markets (of six identified): early education, sports performance (including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries), and longevity.
- Scalable, cloud-based interface allows for quick and easy deployment.
- Securing intellectual property rights for data capture through screening methods; applied for patent protection on acquired devices and technology.
- Leveraging contacts to facilitate agreements for the technology with major sports leagues including the NHL, MLB, NBA, and EPL.
- Winner of prestigious industry awards, including Best in Show at Cantech 2016 and MEDy Awards finalist at Exponential Medicine 2015.
- Strategic partnership with Microsoft via their BizSpark Plus program.
We believe Eyecarrot has a lot to offer, that could very strongly lead to a lucrative acquisition offer from a major. The company’s built to succeed, supported by a very strong medical and research team, and an enviable product offering with solid partners and financial backing. With a very healthy growth plan, and by targeting a pandemic that has yet to fully capture the attention of the biggest players in the field, Eyecarrot is sitting in a league of its own, primed for a massive breakout, or else a significant takeover offer.
If you want more information on the Binovi platform and how it works, or just to stay on top of the company’s advances, you can join their email list at http://eyecarrot.com.
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