Loath to sound ageist but the longer people live, the more it costs the state to look after them. So Joe Hockey’s plan to splash $20 billion on the world’s largest medical research fund would, if it worked, only increase the financial burden on society.
A medical endowment fund is a noble cause but, let’s face it, everyone dies some time and at this very moment, in the depth of winter, there are thousands of pensioners and low-income families who can’t even afford to heat the room.
Incentives should go to energy research – battery storage and renewable energy – things that do far more to spur the economy and lift the burden of spiralling power bills on business and consumers alike.
Medical research is already well and truly thriving on the sharemarket anyway, thanks to the teeming ranks of back-door listed biotech companies.
The great thing about running a biotech is that you can have a top time and get R&D tax breaks, too. You and your friends can go to the latest chic nosherie, for instance, and conduct high performance product trials to assess the effects of a vintage cabernet or two.
Having reported your findings to the Australian Securities Exchange – you won’t hear any fuss from the ASX unless there is a serial killing – your coterie might then proceed with Phase II High Performance trials, perhaps evaluating the impact of an aged cognac and some fine cheeses on human behaviour in the early evening.
Both shareholders and taxpayers moreover pick up your lunch tab, sorry, your R&D expenditure, as a legitimate business expense.
On the nose
While some companies on the sharemarket subscribe to this ad hoc approach to research and remain staunchly in the early development phase, there are others who transcend, such as Rhinomed.
Rhinomed shares doubled earlier this month after the company surpassed the clinical trial stage with its ”revolutionary” Turbine 1.0 nasal dilator and began commercialising the product.
The Turbine is a bit of plastic that an athlete can insert in the nostrils to enhance performance. Rhinomed advised the ASX that its recent trials with cyclists showed an ”increase in airflow” of 38 per cent and an ”increase in power output by up to 5 per cent”.
Rhinomed is in the right space. Bike shops have sprung up like tattoo parlours in recent years as the MAMIL market flourished.
For those not acquainted with the MAMIL, this refers to middle-aged men in lycra, most of whom are high-income professionals with substantial spending power.
And what a growth market it is. If someone is prepared to spend $7000 on a bike, and another $2000 on GPS, Go-Pro, Arkadio carbon bottle and Louis Garneau Carbon Pro clip-on-shoes while getting about town in a Sky racing team bodysuit, they are a lay down misere for a spot of plastic in the nose.
True, the MAMIL market is not without its risks. Already on the defensive for shaving their legs – purportedly for the sake of athletic performance – some MAMILs may eschew the additional reputational risk in being seen with both a nasal dilator and shaved legs. This is where the $429.64 Assos Zegho Werkmannschaft high performance sunglasses come in handy.
We did talk with a sports scientist about the efficacy of nasal dilators in general and his view was that if you were having trouble getting enough air in through your nostrils you could always try opening your mouth.
The mouth is generally a larger aperture than the nostrils, but not always, as evinced by the likes of the Probiscus monkey, the Malayan tapir or Gerard Depardieu.
For Rhinomed though, this is not just about the ”$1 billion Australian bike and accessories market”, or the humungous American cycling fraternity; the blue sky is in the ”$400 million US snoring market” and the ”$66 billion US weight-loss market”.
The revolutionary Turbine will have to be modified and the relevant drugs developed too but Rhinomed is targeting a ”seamless transition into the mass markets” of sleep apnoea and weight loss – the latter via olfactory ”appetite management” applications.
Some powerful marketing may be required to get prospective weight-loss consumers to wear a nasal dilator at, say, a restaurant – or even at home in front of the kids – but Rhinomed does have some dynamic marketers on board.
Chairman is none other than Martin Rogers, who took Prima BioMed from half a cent to 35 cents – a ”70-banger”. Prima reckoned it had a cure for ovarian cancer in the works. It’s back, alas, at 4 cents.
The charismatic Rogers and his chief executive Michael Johnson have done well to get $200,000 in sales of their Turbine in the kick. A retail deal with bike manufacturer Giant has helped – as has the recent announcement that the Turbine has been ”successfully granted registration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device”.
Rather a lot was made of the FDA milestone but the Turbine is not a drug. Class 1 approvals include things like the Band-Aid and the surgical glove, and it is probable that the FDA took the view that if you want to get around with plastic in your nose, be our guest.
And so it is that we have the pleasure of announcing an initial public offering of our own – Rodgermed Ltd, whose revolutionary Keratogenous Membrane Truncator (nail scissors), are now being trialled pending FDA approval.