BPH Energy is close to realising its investment in Cortical Dynamics – but the market is yet to wake up.

Special Report: BPH Energy is on the cusp of realising a long-held investment in a futuristic medical device — and the market is yet to realise it.

The energy and biotech investor (ASX:BPH) has held an active share in Cortical Dynamics for a number of years.

Cortical Dynamics is at the tail-end of a years-long process of developing a device dubbed the Brain Anesthesia Response monitor (BARM), which monitors brain function while a person is under anaesthetic or sedatives.

It’s now in the commercialisation stage of the device.

Until now, the only way to monitor brain waves, and over- and under-sedation, was via electroencephalography (EEG) monitors.

Currently, patients are given a cocktail of hypnotic drugs and opioids, but an EEG monitor can really only tell if a person is awake or asleep — not if they’re in pain. That opens up the terrifying possibility of patients being immobilised yet conscious during a surgery.

Modern general anesthesia is safe, but its effect on the brain is still not fully understood.

A big market opportunity

Cortical Dynamics, in which BPH has a 4.47 per cent stake with an option to increase that to 15.7 per cent, is at the forefront of this new sector.

The company is currently undertaking a pre-IPO capital raising of up to $2m with shares priced at 10c.

The commercialisation program is underway, as Cortical prepares to start a sales program in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Hong Kong. Distribution deals have already been signed for South Korea, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, and a USA arrangement is in the wings.

A report in May by Research and Markets called the Anesthesia Monitoring Devices Global Market places Cortical Dynamics among the top companies globally in this sector.

And a separate report by Profshare Market Research expects the anesthesia monitoring device to maintain a compound annual growth rate of 12.8 per cent, from $1.41bn in 2015 to $4.7bn in 2025.

HNY Research says a rising number of surgeries, technological advancements in anesthesia monitoring, aging populations, and the growing incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases are some of the factors which are driving the market for better monitoring devices.

Operating theatres account for 40 per cent of all hospital expenses yet generates 70 per cent of revenue.

By giving doctors better insight into how a person is reacting to anesthesia, the Cortical BAR monitor can help optimise the dose of anesthetic used as well as patient turnaround times — meaning hospitals can make better use of theatres.

Proof is in the data

Cortical’s BAR monitor has been years in development, starting out as a collaboration between the company and Swinburne University of Technology.

The device has been trialled in a number of hospitals around the world such as the Hospital Foch in Paris, France.

The most recent trial was at St. Luke’s Private Hospital and Strathfield Private Hospital in Sydney by anesthetist Dr Adrian Sultana.

Dr Sultana found that using the BARM device resulted in a “significant reduction in anesthesia recovery time using total intravenous anesthesia” (TIVA).

He said he “was able to administer significantly less TIVA and was able to have the patient wake within three minutes of the end of the operation”.

The BAR Monitor has now been used with 109 patients at Strathfield and St Luke’s Hospitals, as well as at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.


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