Home ultrasound device company Pulsenmore, founded by Dr. Elazar Sonnenschein, filed a prospectus last week for an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The company plans to raise $40 million at a valuation of $200 million. Its last fund-raising round was held in March 2020 at a valuation of $30 million, but that was before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, bringing with it impressive growth in digital health services, and the company bases its valuation on being recognized as part of that trend.
Pulsenmore currently has no revenue, but an agreement with the Clalit health fund enabled it to report an orders backlog of NIS 2.5 million last week for delivery in the first half of this year, and a backlog of NIS 15.7 million for delivery in the second half of the year. At present the company has no other customers.
Pulsenmore's financial statements carry a going concern warning from its auditors. Sonnenschein previously founded Medigus, which developed an endoscope for incisionless treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The company has not managed to generate significant revenue, and since it was dual listed on Nasdaq as well as in Tel Aviv its share price has fallen 97%.
Sonnenschein founded Pulsenmore in 2015, and was ahead of his time in digital and remote healthcare. Directly and through a company that he runs Sonnenschein holds 44% of Pulsenmore. Kfir and Esther Luzzatto, who own the Luzzatto & Luzzatto firm of patent attorneys, own 11%, and Fujifilm, which is also active in ultrasound, holds 3.8%. The company has raised just $7 million to date.
The company's product is for home use by pregnant women. It is meant to reduce the need to visit hospital emergency departments when fetal movements cease to be felt or there is some other reason to fear for the condition of the fetus. The patient receives guidance via her mobile telephone on how to scan the belly area and sends the scan to a doctor who interprets it immediately. There is a limit on the number of scans that can be carried out in a day or over the length of the pregnancy, in order not to overwhelm the doctors. For an organization like Clalit, however, and for the hospitals with which it works, it is estimated that it is worthwhile having scans performed remotely even with high frequency, in order to reduce the number of unnecessary visits to emergency departments, and to be able to identify quickly those fetuses that actually are in real danger.
Pulsenmore states in its prospectus that there are other companies producing mobile ultrasound devices, but not for use by the patients themselves, while some companies produce devices for patient use, but these are "for entertainment", enabling parents-to-be to photograph the fetus and gain a sense of a relationship with it, and are not up to medical standards. Another rival product is a device that only listens to the fetal pulse, and thus checks its viability.
Pulsenmore submitted its product for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2020, but was told that its product was insufficiently similar to the product with which it was compared to receive fast-track approval. Following that, the company made a renewed application for approval on a fast track for new products, which is liable to necessitate a clinical trial.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 3, 2021
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