Export profile: Volpara Health Technologies
Volpara Health Technologies (http://volparasolutions. com/) develops digital health solutions to enable personalised, high quality breast cancer screening based on objective measurements of breast density, compression and radiation dose. The company was founded in 2009 by four of the world’s leading breast imaging experts, and its Wellington R&D and engineering headquarters was established by Dr Ralph Highnam.
VHT’s breast imaging analytics and analysis products improve clinical decision-making and the early detection of breast cancer. Volpara software is used in 35 countries, with more than nine million women having their breast density analysed using VolparaDensity.
VolparaEnterprise, a cloud-based business intelligence product to assist quality control, was launched last July.
• Focus on what potential US customers would value. The country’s large population, strong early-adopter culture and patient advocacy groups (28 states have legislation requiring women be notified of their breast density) promote the adoption of innovative products. The US has represented 90 percent of sales to date. • Volpara seeks out high-quality local distributors and agents but retains the ability to go direct to customers. Agents give Volpara access to their local customer base, may help Volpara’s regulatory position and can support distributor relationships.
Challenges and learnings:
• Early groundwork encouraging peer-reviewed papers regarding breast density has been essential in the huge demands being placed on them – especially in areas such as the ageing population, long-term chronic conditions, disabilities and mental health.”
Being responsive to the Health Strategy gives health IT firms an advantage when it comes to international opportunities, he says.
Arrol is convinced that New Zealand’s health IT sector has a huge
establishing Volpara as the market leader. • In the US, innovative private clinics and large researchoriented clinics have especially been receptive. Staterun health organisations have been slow adopters, or require multi-year trials prior to purchase. • Addressing regulatory and quality obligations for medical devices requires significant resource. Timely investment has put Volpara in a strong market position. • Early investors are fully engaged with what the company is trying to do, and have been instrumental in getting Volpara through to ASX listing.
• Keep innovating and protect your IP. • Hire the best people possible. • Identify the luminaries in countries and invest in them. • Consider whether to refine the product locally then go overseas (often the best approach), or start directly overseas (the approach Volpara took, but only with specific drivers pointing to this strategy). • Always retain the ability to sell direct. opportunity to grow its international presence and build significant export returns. He believes it’s time to move more exporters up the ladder to sit alongside, or even above, the achievements of Orion.
“In its own right the health IT sector should be targeting at least $1 billion of exports over the coming five years, that would then provide the platform for a further $1 billionplus to be added through to 2026.
“To do this we need to establish a clear set of objectives that aligns everyone with achieving them – private and public – and we need a supportive New Zealand health sector.
“None of this can be achieved unless we’ve a strong, local health IT industry that is enabling leading-edge health services for New Zealanders, and can use these proof points to establish offshore success stories.”