Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection described as a “fast-emerging pandemic-prone” disease by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 96 million infected with symptomatic Dengue infections annually across 128 countries. An important challenge in the management of Dengue is how to accurately predict early in the disease, which patients will go on to experience severe illness, SD.
According to numbers provided by WHO, every year 96 million people have symptomatic Dengue infections. Only 500,000 people progressed on to develop Severe Dengue and required hospitalization. 2.5% of these, die from the disease. Globally, this has an US$ 8.9 Bn socioeconomic costs to society.
Due to the lack of a prediction test, Dengue outbreaks overload hospitals with too many non-severe Dengue patients and limits resources available for the patients who are progressing into severe conditions, putting lives at risk.
To control the spread of Dengue fever, reduce the number of deaths and prevent its reoccurrence in the future, governments across the world have adopted various comprehensive Dengue control policies that focus on prevention and cure. The multi-pronged efforts for Dengue control include provision of diagnosis and treatment facilities for Dengue fever at all health centers and adoption of preventive measures. In countries such as Indonesia, Brazil, India and the Philippines, they have set up their own national programs such as the National Dengue Prevention and Control Program. The World Mosquito Program, formerly known as Eliminate Dengue, is also helping to protect the global population from mosquito-borne diseases. Such interventions are boosting the global Dengue testing market all over the world.
However, despite the high level of awareness for Dengue prevention and cure, there are various challenges, such as inadequate funding and resources, and a lack of sound strategy to respond to the increasing problems related to Dengue outbreaks in various regions of the world. Rapid urbanization, lack of sanitation, increase in international trade and mobility of population restraint the efforts to control Dengue. In addition, the lack of well-organized Dengue control programs in collaboration with different sectors and agencies also restraints the market growth of Dengue testing.
Statistically to date, the average hospital stay for a Dengue patient is 10 days, with an average patient liability of one month’s salary. Through the use of StratifiDen™, this burden can be reduced down to a maximum of one day for non-severe Dengue patients, allowing them to rest and recuperate at home.
AXA Partners sees a strong future in the StratifiDen™ prognostic test, and has entered into a Letter of Intent for Partnership with the company pending the regulatory approval of the product.
Thibault Demoures, Asia Head of Health Solutions Development of AXA Partners Asia comments “AXA Partners is a 3rd party insurance administrator and we help to manage the policies of over 100 insurers in Asia. Our mandate is to maximize health outcomes for patients, while containing medical costs for payers. The Dengue prognostic test offered by StratifiCare™, aligns with our focus. With over 2 million customers in Malaysia, high medical costs due to Dengue represent a significant business challenge. With the implementation of StratifiDen™, we foresee substantial overall savings in claims for the Dengue disease in general. This test could effectively shorten the hospitalization period of the majority of Dengue patients.
StratifiDen™ uses a combination of proprietary human biomarkers on a common laboratory test platform (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; ELISA). Preliminary data demonstrated its value by offering high sensitivity (90%) and specificity (91%). The Dengue prognostic technology has been currently undergoing further evaluation in a Singapore government-funded clinical trial since October 2018.
Communication with the US Navy demonstrated it has even wider implications, when we associate it with military service. With StratifiDen™, instead of hospitalizing our soldiers with Dengue who are not at risk of hemorrhage, they can use valuable back-end military hospital beds for those who really need care and have the confidence to not immediately extract them from the field. Those not at risk of Severe Dengue can still rest in military field hospitals. This can have strategic implications, in that critical soldiers with specific skills do not need to be extracted back behind defence line where there is more sophisticated medical support, and unnecessary helicopter interventions are prevented.
StratifiCare™ has obtained worldwide exclusive rights to commercialize the Dengue prognostic technology. The patent has been granted in Australia and filed under national phase in 4 of the hardest hit Dengue countries.
Dr. Anthony Chua, CEO of StratifiCare™, comments “Today, StratifiDen™ is delivered as a clinical laboratory test. We also plan to release this as a point-of-care test (POCT) kit, putting it into the hands of consumers in remote locations, without the need for a testing lab. This can be attractive for markets like Africa, Northern Australia, Brazil, Island Nations, and India, where patients are based far from hospitals and diagnostic facilities. A POCT complemented by telemedicine can further help to reduce the financial burden on families and payers, where distance is a challenge”.
Government tendering and partnerships between diagnostic kit manufacturers are expected to provide long-term opportunities to StratifiCare™ in the Dengue testing market. Governments in the countries of Latin America and Asia Pacific are laying emphasis to eradicate diseases that have a higher infection rate by providing free diagnosis tests and medication to the underprivileged with the help of various government-funded programs. However, in order to achieve these objectives, the local authorities need a constant supply of related diagnostic kits.
The global Dengue testing market was valued at US$ 451.6 Mn in 2017 and is forecasted to reach US$ 739.4 Mn in 2025, with a CAGR of 6.4%. The ELISA tests segment accounted for 46.6% share in 2016 and is projected to account for 46.5% share by the end of 2025 in the global Dengue testing market. The hospitals segment was valued at US$ 196.9 Mn in 2017 and is projected to reach a US$ 334.4 Mn in 2025, registering a CAGR of 6.8% (Persistence, 2018).
StratifiCare™ is now raising its Seed funding to scale its Clinical Trials and operations, with its sights set on the global Dengue Diagnostic market and FDA as the Gold Standard regulatory approval for the sector.
StratifiCare™ was founded as a spin off from the National University of Singapore in 2015 with the vision of revolutionizing how patients are managed and treated in the world. Due to the lack of advanced medical technology, physicians find it hard to provide individualized treatment for patients. This may result in less optimal clinical outcomes and usage of healthcare resources. By developing technologically advanced in vitro diagnostic solutions, we transform the way patients are managed through personalized care and create value for all.
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AXA Partners is AXA’s global entity dedicated to co-building and distributing with partners simple, customer-centric and innovative solutions that combine insurance, assistance and other value-added services. As an integral part of the Group Innovation unit, AXA Partners also plays a key role in the deployment of disruptive solutions emerging from this innovation ecosystem. The combination of both missions positions AXA Partners today as a key pillar of AXA’s Payer-to-Partner strategy. With the support of operating units established in 39 countries, our more than 9,000 employees are at the service of our customers anywhere, anytime. In 2017, AXA Partners’ revenues reached €3.2 billion.
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