VRSEF: Meaningful Progress on Several Fronts
By Brian Marckx, CFA
Verisante (OTC Markets:VRSEF)/(V.VRS) continues to make meaningful progress on several fronts including commercialization of Aura, continued product development, regulatory matters, financing, and product and market awareness initiatives. Below is a quick snapshot of some of these activities over the last few months.
VRSEF Raising $4MM - $10MM
This morning (2/28/2013) Verisante announced that through two separate (one U.S., one ex-U.S.) private placements of common stock with warrants that they expect to raise between $4 million and $10 million. Verisante expects both transactions to close within the next two months.
Each offering will consist of minimum of 4 million and maximum of 10 million shares offered at $0.50/share with 100% warrant coverage. Warrants are exercisable at $0.70 (currently out of the money) with an initial term of 24 months. Verisante has the right to call in the expiration dates of the warrants to within ~30 days of the following events; 50% of warrants' if Verisante's volume weighted trading price reaches $1.00 or greater for 10 consecutive days, 100% of warrants if Verisante's volume weighted trading price reaches $1.25 or greater for 10 consecutive days.
Verisante exited Q3 (9/30/2012) with $2.8 million in cash and equivalents and has been burning (including capitalized R&D) roughly $1.3 million per quarter. This cash raise will provide significant operating capital and should help catalyze the ongoing roll-out of Aura and help to fund the U.S. regulatory program.
Distribution Further Beefed Up
On the heels of the ex-U.S. launch of Aura Verisante has significantly expanded their distribution. Over the last two months Verisante has penned agreements with several distributors covering large swaths of Europe including Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Laserwelt has a substantial footprint throughout Germany, Austria and Lichtenstein and is a top distributor of medical devices. Germany, in particular, is expected to be an important territory for Verisante's Aura as it is the only country with a national skin cancer screening program and one of the largest markets for medical devices in general.
The other recently announced distribution agreements are with Pacifica Handels AG covering Switzerland and an expanded agreement with BO-Pharma which now also covers the Nordic countries of Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland in addition to the initial agreement which was for the Benelux region (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg). And as a reminder, Verisante had previously announced a distribution agreement with Clarion Medical Technologies for the Canadian market.
Initial Sales Commenced
In late January Verisante announced that they received their first orders for Aura from their distributors in Canada and Europe. Manufacturing was up and running and shipping was expected to begin in the following weeks. This timeline continues to be largely commensurate with our earlier expectations.
Aura Continues To Rack Up Awards
Verisante's trophy case continues to fill up with the latest award coming in early February when Aura won the 2013 Prism Award in the Life Sciences and Biophotonics category. The award was presented to VRSEF management during the annual SPIE Photonics West conference which attracts over 1,500 companies and 20,000 attendees and which is billed as the world's largest and most influential photonics and optics event. The award recognized Aura as the best new photonics product on the market and beat out entries from throughout the world including a microscope objective from imaging giant Olympus and an ultrafast laser from Femtolasers, both of which were finalists for the award.
Just days after the SPIE event Aura was named a 2013 finalist for an Edison Award under the Science/Medical, Diagnostic/Analytical Systems category. Per the Edison Awards website describing the awards,
"The Edison Awards™ are among the most prestigious accolades honoring excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design and innovation. Unique to the world of award programs, the Edison Awards™ are focused on the innovators as much as the innovations. Award winners represent "game changing" products, services and excellence and leadership in innovation around four criteria: Concept, Value, Delivery and Impact. An Edison Award represents significant value to the award winner and to the cause of innovation."
Verisante and Aura again appear to be in good company as a finalist. The other three finalists in their category are; 3M Molecular Detection System by 3M, AccuVein AV400 by AccuVein Inc, and 3-D Motion Capture System by Dynamic Athletic Research Institute.
As a reminder Verisante and their cancer detection products and technology have already racked up a number of high profile accolades over the recent past including Popular Science's Best of What's New Award for 2011, being named as a top cancer breakthrough of 2011 by the Canadian Cancer Society and the company being named as the top ranking technology and life sciences company on the TSX Venture 50.
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