E-commerce platform for diagnostic tool

"Our goal is to make this new technology as readily accessible as buying an ice cream from the corner store" -Pacific Edge managing director David Darling
"Our goal is to make this new technology as readily accessible as buying an ice cream from the corner store" -Pacific Edge managing director David Darling
Dunedin-based Pacific Edge is taking its bladder cancer diagnostic technology directly to New Zealanders through the launch of an e-commerce platform, which will become live in about two weeks.

New Zealand residents will have the ability to order a urine testing service online and samples will be analysed by Pacific Edge Diagnostics, in Dunedin.

Pacific Edge managing director David Darling told the Otago Daily Times New Zealanders would pay a rebated cost of $368 for a test, much lower than the cost of a test in the United States.

''We are providing this rebate because we are a New Zealand company and have been supported by New Zealand people. We are pleased to be able to offer the service directly to people here.''

Asked if he was confident Pacific Edge could keep up with demand if the online service took off in popularity, Dr Darling said it would be a nice problem to have.

The Dunedin laboratory had the ability for 35,000 tests and the capacity to triple-shift, if needed.

For every 1000 new tests, three new machines and two more technicians would be needed.

If there was a potential jam, New Zealand tests could be sent to the United States laboratory or US tests could be sent to New Zealand, he said.

''It's nice to have the complementary accredited lab in the US.''

In the past, people concerned they might have bladder cancer could phone Pacific Edge and have a Cxbladder test kit sent to them.

The ''Mad Butcher'' Sir Peter Leitch was a long-time client who had expressed peace of mind thanks to being able to repeatedly test for bladder cancer.

''He's been using our technology for two years. He phones up, we send him the kit, he pees in the cup and sends it to the lab. The results are sent straight to his urologist and if there is a problem, it is immediately obvious. It provides peace of mind for him,'' Dr Darling said.

The e-commerce site had been reviewed and approved by Medsafe, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, and TAPS, the Therapeutic Advertising Pre-vetting System of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms praised the innovative thinking of Pacific Edge and hoped it would encourage more men to use the bladder cancer tests.

''There is a bit of a stigma about men and their health. It is a lot easier for them to use the technology at home than fronting up to a doctor. The more people using the test, the more normal it becomes.''

New Zealand was an ideal testing ground for online sales and Pacific Edge could roll out the product in a cost-effective way.

If the tests proved successful in New Zealand, there was potential to have online sales in other countries, particularly in Asia, Mr Timms said.

Pacific Edge Diagnostics commercial director Brent Pownall said the service would allow people with haematuria (blood in their urine, one of the early indicators of possible bladder cancer) a readily accessible and easy-to-use service.

Results would be provided to clients and their clinicians.

''This translates to a higher level of confidence in the results, giving the patient greater peace of mind.''

Buyers of the urine testing service in New Zealand would be sent the proprietary urine sampling system developed by Pacific Edge to be used for collecting a urine sample for the CXbladder test.

The test allowed buyers the convenience of collecting a sample at home without needing to visit their doctor or specialist.

Dr Darling said many New Zealanders were aware the technology was available to complement or provide an alternative to the standard invasive tests but were not sure how to access the Cxbladder service, other than through their doctor.

Now patients could test themselves regularly if they were concerned.

''Our goal is to make this new technology as readily accessible as buying an ice cream from the corner store. This will ensure the disease can be found early and that clinicians will get to know very early on which patients are high priority.''

Health statistics in New Zealand showed about 600 people a year were diagnosed with bladder cancer and about 170 deaths a year were attributed to the disease. Many more were referred for urological examinations after a diagnosis of haematuria.

On average, fewer than one in 10 of those suffering some form of haematuria were likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, Dr Darling said.

Pacific Edge continued its focus on driving revenue for its urology-based technology Cxbladder in the the US and achieving the company's target of sales revenue there of $100 million after five years of trading.

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