Dental impression company Impression Healthcare (ASX: IHL) has kicked off 2019 with a deal with Force Impact Technologies, a US-based life science company.
The deal intends to serve as a parallel revenue generator to the company’s latest foray into the medicinal cannabis market.
Earlier today, Impression revealed it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Force Impact relating to its FiTGuard product, a clinically-validated smart mouthguard that detects head impacts and helps prevent long-term brain injury.
The move means the product will be sold and distributed by Impression across Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong and thereby adds a further revenue generator onto the company’s books.
Impression intends to promote the FiTGuard using its existing sales network of sports ambassadors, business-to-business preferred practitioner network of dental practices and its digital infrastructure to distribute the product.
Fitting in FiTGuard
According to Force Impact, it has developed FiTGuard to increase “early concussion detection” among athletes. The newly-developed technology monitors the severity of head impacts to athletes both during active play and in training.
The functionality of FiTGuard functions through sportsmen wearing the FiTGuard which works to eliminate the risk that athletes remain on the field “post a heavy impact event”, thus reducing the risk of Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) – a serious concern of sporting clubs.
Force Impact says there are around 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the US every year with around 47% of athletes not reporting concussion symptoms incurred during competition or training.
Although Australian-based figures have not been provided, Impression believes there is a fertile market for the FiTGuard product in Australia where impact sports are also popular amongst both professional and amateur players.
According to scientific research, SIS occurs when the brain swells rapidly, and catastrophically, after a person suffers a second concussion before symptoms from an earlier trauma have subsided.
The condition has often been labelled as a “rare but usually fatal condition” that has spurred multiple sporting organisations to impose mitigative concussion protocols to better protect sportsmen at risk of acute concussion injuries.
In Australia, football and rugby players are first on the list of target markets with American football players being another market in the US.
The FiTGuard product aims to allow coaches, medical staff and officials to receive an instant indication of the force of impact an athlete has absorbed by the transmission of a signal from the FiTGuard device embedded in the athlete’s mouthguard.
Breaking down FitGuard
The FiTGuard “suite” comes as a combination of a custom-fitted mouthguard that measures cranial acceleration which includes LEDs to display impact severity, as well as, an oral device with Bluetooth connectivity to a complimentary FiTApp.
The app tracks impact history and provide the athlete with cognitive performance exams which can also be uploaded to FiTCloud, a back-end data storage and athlete performance modelling tool.
“Contact sports are very popular in the Australian, New Zealand and Hong Kong markets and an agreement with Force is an excellent opportunity to distribute a premium product that enables athletes and their teams to take control of concussion management,” said Mr Joel Latham, chief executive officer of Impression Healthcare.
One of the immediate potential applications could be in the widely popular sports of Australian rules football and rugby across Oceania.
“The FiTGuard will be marketed by our great sports ambassadors and I look forward to having further discussions with the AFL and NRL regarding the FiTGuard’s use within those codes,” said Mr Latham.
“Concussion and its long-term relationship with a multitude of mental disorders is increasingly gaining public attention following numerous incidences affecting major sporting celebrities,” he added.