Deltex Medical Group plc (LON:DEMG) New Chief Executive Officer Andy Mears caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss his new role as CEO, plans for the next 12 months and the main opportunities for the business.
Q1: You were appointed as Deltex Medical’s new CEO yesterday, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your background?
A1: Yes, of course. I joined Deltex Medical as an engineer in 1999 working on the early development of the oesophageal doppler monitor, or the ODM as we call it for short, so the ODM uses ultrasound to measure the patients circulating blood volume.
As a junior engineer, my role was really hands-on and involved taking the ODM prototypes to the clinicians helping us to develop the technology, so they could try it, suggest improvements and the I would return to our research and development team to explain what was required. Once the changes had been made, I would then take it back to the doctor who retried and so on.
So, this gave me a real insight into the clinical needs and challenges of working within this environments so when the ODM was officially released to market, I was the only person at Deltex who had seen it used clinically on patients. I immediately became the project manager so as that time, I was also running the production department and like many SME’s had a different business card for each person I saw.
From there, I have had numerous roles within the company, I’ve been Operations Director, Group Sales Director and for the past 3 years, Managing Director so with the exception of the finance department, I have literally worked in every single department in Deltex over the past 30 years. So, I know the company, our people and our customer base extremely well.
My notable achievements over this time were to be closely involved in the NICE recommendation for ODM in 2012 that covered over 800,000 surgical patients and also the dedicated reimbursement code for the ODM in the USA.
Q2: How do you see Deltex being currently positioned and what are your plans for the business for the next 12 months as the new CEO?
A2: Deltex clearly has the technology, it now needs to increase its market share and revenues for focussing, as we succeed to do this, we will obviously start to generate cash. My plans for the business are triangulated around the further development of Deltex’s Haemodynamic Monitoring technology and expanding our addressable markets, increasing our revenues particularly around high-margin recurring probe revenues and starting to drive a cash generation.
So, with regards to developing the technology, we’ve just released the TruVue monitor which is the latest version of our device as well as having the ODM at its core, it also two other ‘best in class’ technologies to measure the patients haemodynamic, these being TruVue Pressure Wave which uses arterial waveform analysis and TruVue Impedance which is primarily aimed at the awake patients. So, TruVue now gives us the opportunity to sell right across the hospital patient journey, whereas traditionally we’ve been selling primarily into the operating room and the intensive care department.
The other exciting project we were working on is called TruVue VP Loops, combining beat to beat measurements of blood flow using the oesophageal doppler and blood pressure using Pressure Wave. The ability to do this is absolutely unique to TruVue as we combine both independent readings to create velocity pressure loops in real time. So, early clinical studies on VP Loops, I’ve highlighted a number of exciting clinical parameters including something called GALA, which is patients global afterload, this can be used for aid clinicians to give radioactive drugs much more safely than they do now.
So, over the next 12 months, main objectives are to focus on our sales strategies and improve the cost-effectiveness of our servicing processes on TruVue.
Q3: What do you see as the main opportunities and challenges for Deltex in the short and longer term?
A3: So, patient safety is a large and increasing issue for hospitals in developed markets around the world with many facing financial penalties for not achieving their lowest possible post-op without complications and the best possible outcome.
So, haemodynamic monitoring with Deltex ODM is a gold standard technology, improves patient outcome while it reduces costs. So, the big opportunity for us as a company in both the short and longer term is to get swept along with the ever increasing focus on patient safety.
There will be other opportunities around extending the size of our addressable markets by expanding our technologies on that platform, offering it to a much wider user base. In a sense, this is secondary to the larger prize of positioning Deltex as the go-to technology provider to improve both patient safety and patient outcomes, this is obviously a win-win situation for both the patient and the healthcare provider.
Hospitals are complicated institutions to manage and mot hospitals, especially in North America and around Europe, are facing severe financial pressure. So, although Deltex Medical’s Haemodynamic Monitoring technology benefits from unrivalled evidence-based showing improved outcome, patient safety and reducing costs, it can sometimes be a challenge persuading hospital leadership teams or senior clinicians to take action. In some instances, it’s easier to do nothing in the short term which is also of course at a much lower cost.
So, one of the biggest challenges that Deltex faces is address the ‘let’s do nothing’ default position of many hospitals and it’s going to require us to look very carefully at our sales proposition and marketing messages.