Apos Medical and Sports Technology Ltd., which has developed a device for the treatments of knee osteoarthritis, has raised $8 million from Pitango Venture Capital in its first financing round. Apos previously raised $12 million from private investors and Invus Group LLC.
Apos's product is a platform attached to a person's shoes to create multi-directional instability in walking to mimic natural walking on uneven surfaces, thereby strengthening the muscles and alleviating pain. Treatments take 30-60 minutes a day.
Apos CEO Dr. Amit Mor says, "The product has several applications. It can be used for stabilization, improve athletes' performance, and prevent knee injury. We initially targeted the knee injury market, which is a huge market, both in terms of the patients and the economic burden to the health system."
The product can also treat knee damage caused by aging, or injuries from sports or accidents. In both cases, current treatments are based on pain relievers and physiotherapy, which only offer temporary relief. In severe cases, patients are directed to surgery.
Apos founders Mor and Dr. Avi Elbaz invented the device in the late 1990s. After failing to raise capital, they began producing and marketing the device on their own, initially in Israel. They have treated 20,000 patients to date, half of them in Israel.
"We developed a full treatment platform, which includes both the device and service for the patient," Mor told "Globes". "We joined several emerging global trends - personalized medicine and service are becoming an integral part of the project. There is increased willingness for home care and the huge need to save on costs. Today, a patient with knee pain can cost the healthcare system $6,000-7,000 a year."
Mor says that the device saves on physiotherapy, injections to treat pain, and surgical procedures, saving healthcare costs, even at NIS 4,000 per patient.
Apos markets its product in Israel, Singapore, and the UK, where it operates with Britain's largest private health insurance company BUPA Ltd. Apos supported the establishment of clinics at hospitals and doctors' offices so that doctors could also benefit when registering for the treatment.
Apos will use proceeds from the financing to launch in other countries, especially the US, Germany, and Japan. The product has EU CE Mark certification, and the company is seeking to obtain US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as quickly as possible.
"Globes": There are shoes that offer motion disruption, which are sold as fitness accessories. Is this a possible market for you?
Mor: "Their product is like offering a single pair of glasses for every eyesight problem. There is no comparison. We operate in the fitness market, and we support athletes' training. In the farther future, we'll target the fitness, stability and anti-cartilage loss markets, but we're currently focused on our core market - patients with knee pain."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 16, 2011
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011