Investors waiting for news about Echo Therapeutics' glucose-monitoring system Print E-mail
By Brian Wilson   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 05:40
FDA CalendarEcho Therapeutics (Nasdaq:ECTE) is a medical device company that specializes in developing skin-permeation technology. They are working on development of the Prelude® skin preparation system for needle-free drug administration and for painless extraction of biomaterials.  

The major product in development which utilizes Prelude® is their Symphony® tCGM (transdermal continuous glucose monitoring) system, which is a non-invasive and pain free solution to the traditional glucose monitoring device that prick your finger to extract a blood sample.

On September 15th, 2011 Echo Therapeutics received certificates of registration from the US Patent and Trademark office, effectively establishing the Prelude® and Symphony® brands in preparation for their release in the future. The registration gives Echo exclusive nationwide rights to use the SYMPHONY and PRELUDE trademarks on or in connection with the associated products, potentially in perpetuity.

Just a few days before that information was released, on September 8th Echo announced that the company was putting the Symphony® system; which is the transdermal continuous glucose monitoring system useful for diabetes care, into a clinical trial.

"Initiating the clinical study of this next generation Symphony System is an important milestone for Echo that represents the steady execution of our objectives in pursuit of FDA approval.  We are enthusiastic about Symphony's potential based on the results of our six previous trials," said Patrick T. Mooney, M.D., Chairman and CEO of Echo Therapeutics at the time.  "We are very excited about our significant development progress thus far, and we look forward to making additional progress with Symphony this year."

The results of this trial are expected “in the near future” according the company’s website, and since it’s been almost a month since that release the results could be announced soon. In fact, in the same September 8th release indicated that "upon completion of this study, Echo plans to conduct a study in patients with diabetes early in the fourth quarter."

Good results for this experimental technology could boost shares significantly. Upon successful release of the Prelude® skin prep device alongside the Symphony® tCGM device, the diagnostic side of the diabetes market could be revolutionized. One of the major complaints of diabetics is the painful procedure by which contemporary medical devices extract a blood sample. Improvements have been made to reduce the amount of blood needed (hence smaller needles on the device) but a completely pain-free method hasn’t been tried yet.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Diabetes Rate Chart below shows just how diabetes has become increasingly prevalent across the last decade – especially amongst the older segments of the population.

However, new figures on the prevalence and cost of diabetes were recently published in the fifth edition of the Diabetes Atlas, the authoritative guide to the disease issued by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and they further underscore the need for more medical treatments and devices targeted at this growing segment of the world's population.

Some may find it shocking to learn that the previous edition in October 2009 had estimated the number of diabetics at 285 million for 2010, although a separate study published in the Lancet medical journal in June this year had already put the figure at a much higher 347 million.

"In 2011 one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds," IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya told Reuters last month.

Global sales of diabetes medicines totaled $35 billion last year and could rise to as much as $48 billion by 2015, according to research firm IMS Health, driven by increased prevalence and treatment, especially in countries such as China, India, Mexico and Brazil.

Upon favorable clinical results for the Symphony® tCGM system, Echo Therapeutics could be in an ideal position to sell a painless and highly advanced method to monitor glucose levels in the quickly growing number of diabetes patients.

ECTE has a market cap of $98.98M and 21.9 million of the company's total 34.25 million outstanding shares are in the float with 26.23% held by insiders.

As of Sept 15th there were 958.16K shares on the short side of the stock. That figure had grown from 793.02K the previous month.

As far as financing for these projects are concerned, the company has announced several transactions during the last three years.
  • February 8, 2011  Echo Therapeutics, Inc. reported that it has completed the previously announced financing of $6.5 million.
  • January 6, 2011  Echo Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has raised approximately USD 2.5 million through a series of private placements of the Company's stock and warrants, and it has received a binding commitment for an additional USD 3 million. The funding was led by the Company's largest shareholder, Platinum Montaur Life Sciences, LLC. Echo conducted a private placement of common stock and warrants with aggregate proceeds of approximately $2.5 million through a series of closings held from November 2010 through January 2011.
  • February 4, 2010  Echo Therapeutics, Inc entered into a Common Stock and Warrant Purchase Agreement (the February Agreement) with certain strategic institutional and accredited investors in connection with the Company's private placement (the February Financing) of shares of its Common Stock, at a price of $1.50 per share (the February Shares). Under the terms of the February Agreement, each investor received warrants to purchase a number of shares of Common Stock with an exercise price of $2.25 per share equal to fifty percent (50%) of the number of February Shares purchased by such investor (the February Warrants).
  • November 13, 2009  Echo Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has entered into definitive agreements with accredited and institutional investors to raise approximately $3 million through the sale of approximately 2.37 million shares of common stock at $1.25 per share through a private placement transaction. The transaction will include approximately 2.2 million common stock purchase warrants with an exercise price equal to $2.00 per share and a term of five years.
  • February 12, 2008  Echo Therapeutics, Inc announced that it had completed an approximately $2.3 million private financing with Montaur Capital through Platinum Long Term Growth VII, LLC.

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