This morning, INVO Biosciences (IVOB) announced it has signed an exclusive sales and distribution agreement with Biodar Plus Company, based in Donetsk, Ukraine, to distribute the INVOcell medical device throughout the Ukraine. Additionally, Biodar will be setting up an in-house infertility center to facilitate sales of the device and provide treatment to infertile couples.
INVO Bio CEO Dr. Claude Ranoux will head up training at the new center. We believe this could lead to training of physicians outside of the Ukraine, and eventually act as a stepping stone to penetrate additional markets in Eastern Europe.
We are particularly excited about the news today. Similar to Russia, the Ukraine is seeing a shrinking population based on aging demographics and growing infertility. There are 30 infertility centers in Ukraine; however, infertility treatments are very expensive, often costing more than $10,000, and therefore only available to a small number of couples with the financial resources to pay.
INVOcell will dramatically broaden the availability of infertility treatments in the Ukraine. Biodar Plus is fully licensed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health to provide a wide variety of medical services, including gynecological and infertility treatments, and to distribute certain medical devices.
The announcement is the second major distribution agreement for INVO Bio this month. Earlier in October 2010, management signed an exclusive agreement to distribute the INVOcell device in Canada with Invaron Pharmaceuticals. Based on new favorable reimbursement codes established by the provincial government of Quebec, infertility proceedures should grow by five fold, to roughly 10,000 cycles annually, over the next four years. The INVOcell device is uniqually positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for a low-cost, more natural alternative to male and female infertility.
INVOcell has obtained a CE Mark for sale in Europe and Canada. In August 2010, INVO Bio commenced the registration process for its INVOcell device with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) of the Peoples Republic of China. The company’s exclusive distribution partner in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan is the Progressive Group, a leading specialty medical device company located in Beijing. INVOcell is also marketed and sold in Austria, Cameroon, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Togo, Turkey and Venezuela.
In June 2010, we initiated coverage of INVO Biosciences with an Outperform rating and price target of $0.25 per share. We believe that the company has built a superior device for the treatment of infertility. The INVOcell device has been elegantly designed to provide several advantages when compared to interuterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
These advantages include lower risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, lower risk of anesthesia complications and wider applicability and availability for infertile couples. Additionally, the INVO procedure provides a far more personalized and natural approach to conception than IVF. Recent trial results demonstrate the INVO procedure has a clinical pregnancy rate similar to that of IVF and about half the cost.