Meracle, with its first product, the Whizz, strives to increase the efficacy of medication delivered into the lungs of chronic respiratory patients, while tracking intake data to augment the assessment of treatment outcomes. The data collected benefits multiple stakeholders, while improving the quality of life of patients and helping them gain a sense of control over their situation. Through trials we have shown that the Whizz improves technique and compliance by 100%, leading to better asthma control and reduced symptoms.
We have previously been awarded competitive, non-dilutive grants from the Singapore Government via the National Research Foundation (NRF) and National Health Innovation Centre (NHIC) to support the development of the Whizz.
We have completed major milestones including the following:
• Conducted usability and clinical trials at National University Hospital (NUH), showing patients overcoming the hurdles in compliance and technique with positive response rate resulting in improved asthma control and reduced symptoms
• Completed manufacturability and ready to scale with manufacturing partners in place
• Prepared design history file for regulatory submission
• Engaged regional distributors and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate market access
• Ready for product launch after completing safety and quality tests and submitting and obtaining approval from Health Science Authority (HSA, Singapore) and CE Mark (Europe).
Our primary target market are children and the elderly with chronic respiratory conditions (such as asthma and COPD), who make up around 60% of the patient population and are the most vulnerable to errors and non-compliance, which results in poor control, leading to two times more frequent visits to the hospital for urgent care and three times higher healthcare cost. Asthma affects 14% of children under the age of 18 and 10% of adults over the age of 65, while COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) affects 14% of the elderly globally. According to the World bank, there are 1.9 billion children and 700 million people above 65 years old. 14% of children with asthma accounts for 266 million, 10% of the elderly with asthma accounts for 70 million and 14% of the elderly with COPD accounts for 98 million. This brings the total population in the primary market as 434 million. Assuming a unit price of €67, the total market size is €29 billion. These segments are especially vulnerable to inhaler error with no solution available that helps them retain correct technique, which would then result in poor control. We are targeting the caregivers of these segments who are working-age adults. Their pain points are to help their loved ones manage this chronic condition. Parents of children with asthma, will want to ensure their child is taking inhaled medication correctly. There are currently no solutions that provide feedback on technique and parents have to rely on the child’s ability to inhale using the techniques taught by nurses. Adult children who are caregivers of the elderly do not often live in the same household and are not able to guide them in medication taking or track their compliance.
Problem or Opportunity
Asthma continues to take a heavy toll on patients despite the development of many new treatments, due to incorrect medication administration technique and poor compliance. More than 50% patients inhale their medication wrongly causing drugs to be deposited at the back of the throat instead of the lungs. This results in diminishing efficacy and unwanted side effects when medication is swallowed instead. To make matters worse, 50-78% do not take their medication regularly. This results in 70% of patients with poor asthma control causing exacerbation of symptoms such as shortness of breath and leading in twice the number of hospitalization
Solution (product or service)
Meracle’s first product, the Whizz, improves the management of respiratory conditions by increasing the efficiency of medication delivered into the lungs while tracking intake data to augment the assessment of treatment outcomes. Through trials we have shown that the Whizz improves technique and compliance by 100%, leading to better asthma control and reduced symptoms. The system consist of a hardware that helps deliver medication effectively to patients, paired to a mobile application that has multiple features to track and encourage compliance through gamification as well as manage treatment regimen. The data collected benefits multiple stakeholders, by first improving the quality of life of patients and helping them gain a sense of control over their situation. Doctors have access to objective data that makes it easier to target accurate prescription medication and governments are able to improve public health and reduce the burden on an overwhelmed healthcare system.
We know that good respiratory control requires addressing both technique and compliance. None of the solutions currently available, even in combination, are able to address the problem of inhalation technique. Inhalers can be used directly by patients but studies have shown that only 10% of drugs are delivered into the lungs due to coordination issues. Regular spacers helps to suspend drugs to reduce coordination difficulties but do not offer any feedback on technique or compliance. Smart inhalers, monitors compliance but these only address one part of the problem as tracking is a non-sequitur if drugs are not delivered correctly in the first place.
Advantages or differentiators
The Whizz provides actionable, real time feedback directly to patients, allowing them to intuitively adjust their inhalation immediately to be within the optimal window, while they are inhaling their medication, ensuring drugs are being delivered to the lungs instead to the back of the throat. The Whizz is compatible to all inhalers, not just in the physical fitting onto the spacer, but to all drug formulations as well, since the inhalation technique is not affected by the difference in drug density. The Whizz provides doctors and healthcare providers objective data from patient medication intake, helping them assess severity of symptoms, monitor response to treatment and guide decisions regarding further treatment.
We are projecting a revenue of US$1.3 million during the first year of sales, followed by US$ 7 million on the second year and US$ 20 million on the third year. Revenue projections assumes per unit price of US$79 with addressable market based on prevalence of childhood asthma only. We also assume conservative Sales volume projections of 0.05%-0.5% (2021) – 0.35%-6% (2024) market penetration of addressable market. We plan to enter in 2021 the South East Asian, South Korean, Taiwanese, Australian and New Zealand markets, in 2022 the European, China, US and Japanese market.
The Whizz solution is delivered directly to patients to use with their treatment regimen. Revenue streams will be generated fr om the sale of the spacer and recurring revenues from the sale of the replaceable chamber component as well as the mobile app subscription. This is a B2B2C model wh ere we will work closely with go to market partners such as medical device distributors, pharmaceutical companies, retail stores and hospital pharmacies to facilitate market access.
Money will be spent on
Meracle has completed major milestones in manufacturing and regulatory preparations as well as conducted usability and clinical trials at National University Hospital (NUH), Singapore. Our next major milestone is to conduct safety and quality tests, such that we can submit for regulatory approvals, particularly from Europe’s CE mark and Singapore's HSA (Health Science Authority). Thus, the major portion of our budget will go into these tests, namely biocompatibility, electrical safety and medical device software as well as obtain certification for our quality management system, per ISO 13485, and conduct process validations, all of which are required for the technical dossier submission for regulatory approvals. We also plan to update our software and mobile application to improve its usability and expand operating systems compatibility to both the iOS and android systems. Thereafter, the funds will support pilot inventory builds for sale as well as marketing cost for market entry into Asia and Europe.
Offer for investor
As we are raising our Seed round for US$1 million, the share of the company on offer is based on a pre-market valuation of US$6-8 million.
Firstly, the sales channels that we are employing may not be sufficiently effective in reaching the target market. While we have evaluated a typical patient’s journey and identified primary care providers as the main source of support and guidance, it has become more evident that the modern patient has alternative sources of information, namely the Internet and social media. Thus, we should also plan to market our solution via these platforms to increase exposure.
While we plan to engage clinician partners to promote the benefit of our solution, the clinical community are also risk adverse to new technology. Thus, we may need to invest in larger clinical trials to prove the efficacy of our solution to increase the uptake by healthcare providers.
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
We participated in several accelerator programmes, namely, IOT Tribe’s first Asian cohort for its Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) Accelerator program, the Health10x accelerator, organized by UNSW as well as been accepted in the upcoming 500 Kobe and 500 Global Launch SF accelerators
Won the competition and other awards
Meracle was selected as Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) Slingshot 2019 top 100 global start-up and exhibited at SFF x SWITCH 2019. Meracle was the top 12 finalist of C-Shark Tank by She1k Angel Network and the regional Semi-finalist of Jumpstarter 2019 (Ali Baba Entrepreneurs Fund).
A PCT application (PCT/SG2020/050217 Title: INHALABLE MEDICAL AEROSOL DISPENSING SYSTEM) has been filed. It describes the spacer and its corresponding mobile application. Key novel features include the combination of features that addresses adherence and technique as well as the gamification component to encourage adherence in children.