By Kyahn Williamson, Head of Investor Communication, kwilliamson@buchanwe.com.au 

Friday, March 13, 2015: Watching your offspring grow and develop is one of the privileges of parenthood, and I felt a lot like a proud Mum last Friday morning.

But instead of my children being the source of my satisfaction (sorry Cruz and Giselle!), two of Buchan’s investor communication clients – Nanosonics (ASX.NAN) and ImpediMed (ASX.IPD) – were admitted into the ASX300 index (officially on March 20).

Much has been written about the woes of the Australian biotech sector in the past twelve months. But the combination of hard work and good fortune of Nanosonics and ImpediMed deserves to be celebrated, and held up as examples of Australia’s thriving medical technology industry.

Nanosonics’ device, the trophon, is a bar-fridge shaped device now used by 44 of the top 50 hospitals in the US, and 1500 US hospitals in total, as a cleaner, faster and cheaper way to disinfect ultrasound probes. The technology is designed to reduce the risk of healthcare acquired infections, a problem costing the healthcare system €7 billion in Europe and about US$6.5 billion in the US each year.

ImpediMed has developed a device for detecting lymphoedema, an irreversible build-up of fluid in the lymphatic system which occurs in 20-30 per cent of cancer patients.

The entry of these two companies into the ASX300 provides important validation and will put them – and those following in their footsteps – on the radar of a new universe of investors.

These two stocks have been standouts for the med tech sector over the past two years. Where the medical devices sector averaged a 45 per cent share price increase – and the S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries Index grew at 9.8 per cent – ImpediMed is 1000%, and Nanosonics 265%, over the same period.

Success is no accident

But for those about to dip their toes into biotech or medtech investing for the first time, it is important to remember for both these firms, success has not arrived on calm seas.

Taking technology from the R&D phase through regulatory approvals and into market is no easy feat. The success of these companies has taken much hard work, commitment and vision from many talented people. Both companies have benefited from patient investors, who have continued to put their money behind these once fledgling organisations.

From an Investor Relations (IR) perspective, it’s also no fluke their share price, market capitalisation and liquidity have reached a level sufficient to achieve entry into the ASX300 index. While IR alone will not drive up a Company’s share price up, it does play an important role in how the Company is perceived in the market.

As someone who works closely with these companies, it is apparent to me that each are committed to delivering shareholder value and best practice in their communications, while balancing the needs of running a business. This takes careful planning, time and resources to execute.

Personally, and the source of my proud mum sentiment, I have been a part of the journey for these companies well before the ASX300 was in their sights. It’s been a wild and exhilarating ride, but working with such great people and seeing their visions come to fruition is an immensely satisfying part of the job.

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