Daily Archives: March 19, 2020

Smile Direct Club Opens 3D Printing Facility to Aid in Production of Medical Supplies

As One Of The U.S.’s Largest 3D Printing Manufacturers, Company Donates Capacity And Plastic To Aid Health Efforts

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SmileDirectClub, the industry pioneer and first direct-to-consumer medtech platform for teeth straightening, is one of the largest 3D printing manufacturers in the United States, and as a result has opened its manufacturing facility to partner with medical supply companies and health organizations to increase production of medical supplies necessary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  SmileDirectClub is actively seeking communications and partnerships with medical supply companies and health organizations that are in need of additional production of plastic materials such as medical face shields, respirator valves or other supplies.

SmileDirectClub urges medical supply companies and health organizations to contact them directly at resilience@smiledirectclub.com to determine if the company can be of assistance. Specifically, SmileDirectClub is able to print materials using STL 3D printing files, and once provided can quickly offer manufacturing capacity. SmileDirectClub also has a global HIPAA-trained contact center team and support system to assist in health aid efforts.

“In times like these, it is incumbent on all of us do what we can to help those in need however we can,” said SmileDirectClub Chief Executive Officer David Katzman.  “Reports of medical supply shortages are very concerning and we have the production capacity to help in the printing of plastic materials.  Due to recent automations that increased our printing output capacity, we’re able to easily add this production to our current clear aligner therapy lines. We urge any company or health organization that could use additional production resources to reach out to us directly.”

About SmileDirectClub
SmileDirectClub, Inc. (Nasdaq: SDC) (“SmileDirectClub”) is an oral care company and creator of the first direct-to-consumer medtech platform for teeth straightening, now also offered directly via dentist and orthodontists’ offices. Through our cutting-edge teledentistry technology and vertically integrated model, we are revolutionizing the oral care industry, from clear aligner therapy to our affordable, premium oral care product line. SmileDirectClub’s mission is to democratize access to affordable and convenient care, unleashing the power of a person’s smile to positively impact their place in the world. SmileDirectClub is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and operates in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit SmileDirectClub.com.

Contact: SmileDirectClub Media Relations: Press@SmileDirectClub.com

NetSfere Offers Free Secure Enterprise Messaging Services for Healthcare Providers and First Responders During COVID-19

To enable healthcare workers and first responders during this pandemic, NetSfere is offering free access to its cloud-based platform to communicate and collaborate in a safe, secure and compliant manner

CHICAGO, March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NetSfere, an award-winning, global secure mobile messaging service and a collaboration platform from Infinite Convergence Solutions, Inc., today announced its secure enterprise messaging services are offered free of charge to hospitals, healthcare providers, first responders and government entities world-wide in an effort to offset the impact of COVID-19, effective immediately.

This offer applies to new customers only. Free services will be offered through June 30th, 2020 and this offer is valid globally. To inquire about NetSfere’s offer of free enterprise messaging services contact COVID-19Support@netsfere.com.

NetSfere’s cloud-based platform includes end-to-end encryption that complies with HIPAA and other global regulatory requirements such as GDPR, providing healthcare providers, first responders and government workers with a secure communication option that offers the immediacy of instant messaging across multiple devices. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are able to communicate and consult with one another simultaneously regarding patient diagnoses or test results while streamlining communications and operations.

“Healthcare providers and first responders are currently on the front lines protecting the safety of people across the world during the COVID-19 global pandemic and we felt the need to offer them assistance any way we can,” said Anurag Lal, president and CEO of Infinite Convergence. “We hope that by offering our enterprise messaging services free of charge to these healthcare providers it will help improve internal communications, eliminating any existing pain points and enabling them to perform their jobs more efficiently.”

NetSfere’s enterprise messaging plan includes global cloud-based service availability, industry-leading security algorithms that support device-to-device encryption, location-based features, administrative controls and collaboration tools including high definition one-to-one and group voice calling, video streaming and screen sharing.

About NetSfere
NetSfere is a secure enterprise messaging service and collaboration platform from Infinite Convergence Solutions, Inc. NetSfere provides industry-leading security and message delivery capabilities, including global cloud-based service availability, device-to-device encryption, location-based features and administrative controls. The service is also offered in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies, and with NTT, a global information communications & technology service provider, to jointly offer NetSfere to its worldwide customers. The service leverages Infinite Convergence’s experience in delivering mobility solutions to tier 1 mobile operators globally and technology that supports more than 400 million subscribers and over a trillion messages on an annual basis. NetSfere is also compliant with global regulatory requirements, including GDPR, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO 27001 and others. Infinite Convergence Solutions has offices in the United States, Germany, India and Singapore. For more information, visit www.netsfere.com.

Media Contact
Brittany Johnson
Uproar PR for NetSfere
bjohnson@uproarpr.com
312-878-4575 x246

Code Life Ventilator Challenge

The Code Life Ventilator Challenge is a 2-week sprint to collect the best ideas from anywhere in the world to create or design life-saving ventilators. It’s a joint initiative between the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and the RI-MUHC.

MONTREAL, March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Montreal General Hospital Foundation, in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), is launching a global innovation challenge, backed by a prize of $200,000 CAD. They are calling for teams to design a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and easy-to-maintain ventilator which could be deployed anywhere needed to save lives.

What we know

With potentially up to 70%1 of the population on the brink of being infected by COVID-19, our worldwide health care systems will be strained beyond their limits. Even now, there aren’t enough ventilators to save everyone who needs respiratory support, and doctors are having to make agonizing decisions about whom to save. Our modern world provides the means to produce these life-saving ventilators thanks to widespread rapid manufacturing tools—3D printers, CNC machines— combined with low-cost computers (e.g. smartphones, Arduinos, etc.), but what we’re missing is a design.

The challenge

The goal is to design a low-cost, simple, easy-to-use and easy-to-build ventilator that can serve the COVID patients, in an emergency timeframe. It should be easy to build locally, its functionality must be easy to verify, and must meet the design requirements specified on the challenge website.

Leading researchers and medical staff at the Montreal General Hospital have assembled a committee of expert advisors (ICU physicians, engineers, etc.) who have defined specifications for this ventilator challenge and who will be judging submissions.

The top three designs will be available for free download to anyone who needs them, saving lives immediately. Start now, we have no time to lose! See the challenge rules here.

The challenge is powered by Agorize, a leading platform for open innovation challenges.

Registration

The deadline to submit your project is March 31, 2020.

For more information and to enroll to the challenge: http://bit.ly/CodeLifeMGH

We need YOU to design a simple, functional, reliable and easy to manufacture ventilator to provide life support to COVID-19 patients anywhere in the world.

About the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

The mission of the RI-MUHC is to generate and leverage discovery and innovation to establish the MUHC as a world-class centre of excellence in patient-centred medicine. Excellence in clinical, evaluative and fundamental research will bring the innovations that will transform health care, providing an integrated view of disease and patient information with related therapies.
Visit: rimuhc.ca

About the Montreal General Hospital Foundation

Since 1973, the Montreal General Hospital Foundation (MGHF) has played a key role within the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and the McGill University Health Network as a proud sponsor of significant medical R&D and technology development and acquisition. The MGHF now manages the third largest healthcare fund in Quebec, with $160 million in assets. In accordance with the wishes of donors, the funds raised by the MGHF go toward supporting patient care, research programs, acquiring cutting-edge equipment, and helping medical teams with their priority needs. Its leadership and strong relationships with the healthcare community have made the MGHF a sound advisor for donors as to where funds are most needed and can have the greatest impact.
Visit: Codelife.ca

About Agorize

Agorize is the leading platform for open innovation challenges. We build bridges between businesses and a global community of 5 million innovators.
Visit: get.agorize.com

Media Contact:

Sylvie Riendeau
Director, Communications & Marketing
Montreal General Hospital Foundation
sriendeau@codelife.ca
Tel: 1.514.575.1591

Organizer Contact:
Reza Farivar, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Integrative Neuroscience
Director, MGH MRI Research Facility
Scientific Director, MUHC TBI Program
Associate Director, Recruitment & Career Development, RI-MUHC
Associate Professor, Dept. of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, McGill University
Montreal General Hospital
reza.farivar@mcgill.ca
Tel: 1.514.285.4950

___________________________________

1 Washington Post, March 11, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/coronavirus-forecasts-are-grim-its-going-to-get-worse/2020/03/11/2a177e0a-63b4-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html

Algernon to Support Planned Phase 2 Trial of Ifenprodil for Coronavirus

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CSE: AGN) (FRANKFURT: AGW) (OTCQB: AGNPF) (the “Company” or “Algernon”) a clinical stage pharmaceutical development company is pleased to announce that Novotech, a leading Asia-Pacific clinical research organization (CRO), has identified physicians in South Korea who have agreed to conduct an investigator initiated phase 2 clinical trial of Ifenprodil for coronavirus patients.

The investigators were identified after Algernon retained Novotech to conduct a feasibility study in South Korea. Novotech was asked to advise on the most efficient regulatory approach to initiating a phase 2 clinical trial for Ifenprodil for COVID-19 and to also help identify potential investigators.

Ifenprodil is an already approved drug in South Korea and Japan for certain neurological conditions with a known safety history. Algernon has been investigating Ifenprodil under its re-purposed drug program and has appointed Novotech as the lead CRO for its upcoming idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic cough phase 2 clinical trial to be conducted in Australia.

The Company is in the process of refining the protocol for the phase 2 coronavirus study after receiving input from the investigators, and is working with Novotech to provide the necessary information and support in order to assist with the study’s approval. The study approval process may be expedited due to the current global health crisis.

The Company will release more information about the planned phase 2 coronavirus study shortly.

The decision to retain Novotech to conduct a feasibility study was made after a recent independent study found that Ifenprodil significantly reduced acute lung injury (ALI) and improved survivability in an animal study with Asian H5N1 infected mice by 40%. Asian H5N1 is the most lethal form of influenza known to date with an over 50% mortality rate. The drug was also previously shown in a separate study to prolong survival under anoxic (low oxygen) conditions, as might occur in patients with severely impaired lung function.

“This independent study data, along with the data generated from the Company’s animal studies on IPF and chronic cough, have supported the Company’s recent new COVID-19 and acute lung injury clinical program,” said Christopher J. Moreau CEO of Algernon Pharmaceuticals.

About NP-120 (Ifenprodil)

NP-120 (Ifenprodil) is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NDMA) receptor glutamate receptor antagonist specifically targeting the NMDA-type subunit 2B (Glu2NB). Ifenprodil also exhibits agonist activity for the Sigma-1 receptor, a chaperone protein up-regulated during endoplasmic reticulum stress. Although the anti-fibrotic activity of Ifenprodil in IPF is not known, recent studies have suggested a link between both receptors and pathways associated with fibrosis.

Glutamate (Glu) is the main excitatory neurotransmitter which acts on glutamate receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) but overactivation of these receptors can cause several damages to neural cells including death. Recent studies show that the glutamate agonist N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) can trigger acute lung injury (ALI). ALI is a direct and indirect injury to alveolar epithelial cells and capillary endothelial cell, causing diffuse pulmonary interstitial and alveolar edema and acute hypoxic respiration failure. ALI is characterized by reduced lung volume and compliance, and imbalance of the ventilation/perfusion ratio, inducing hypoxemia and respiratory distress and its severe stage (oxygen index <200) known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). (1) Furthermore, pathological findings show that 64% of ARDS patients may have pulmonary fibrosis during convalescence (2).

NP-120 (Ifenprodil) was initially developed by Sanofi in the 1970’s in the French and Japanese markets for the treatment of circulatory disorders. The drug is genericized and sold in Japan and South Korea and is used to treat certain neurological conditions.

About Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. 

Algernon Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage pharmaceutical development company focused on advancing its lead compounds for non–alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic kidney disease (CKD) inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic cough.

Algernon has filed new intellectual property rights for NP-120 (Ifenprodil) for the treatment of respiratory diseases and is working to develop a proprietary injectable and slow release formulation.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Christopher J. Moreau
CEO
Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
604.398.4175 ext 701
info@algernonpharmaceuticals.com
investors@algernonpharmaceuticals.com
www.algernonpharmaceuticals.com

The CSE does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Market Regulator (as that term is defined in the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. The Canadian Securities Exchange has not in any way passed upon the merits of the proposed transaction and has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.

CAUTIONARY DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: No securities regulatory authority or stock exchange has reviewed nor accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release. This news release contains forward-looking statements relating to, product development, licensing, commercialization and regulatory compliance issues and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “will”, “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expects” and similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact, included in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations include the failure to satisfy the conditions of the relevant securities exchange(s) and other risks detailed from time to time in the filings made by the Company with securities regulations. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of any forward-looking information may prove to be incorrect. Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and the Company will update or revise publicly any of the included forward-looking statements as expressly required by applicable law.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938426/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19909524

Sinch AB (publ): Sinch adds conversational AI capabilities through acquisition

Stockholm, Sweden – Sinch AB (publ) – XSTO: SINCH

Sinch AB (publ), a global leader in cloud communications for mobile customer engagement, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Chatlayer BV for an Enterprise Value of EUR 6.9 million.

Founded in Antwerp in early 2018, ChatLayer.ai is a cloud-based software platform that lets businesses create multi-lingual chatbots and voicebots using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). The platform enables intelligent two-way conversations between businesses and their customers across multiple communications channels like mobile messaging, voice, and web chat.

“Cloud communications and mobile technology fundamentally transforms how brands can engage with their customers. We are now seeing how next-generation messaging channels, which are designed to be conversational, are creating new opportunities for brands to enrich their customer experience. Growing our capabilities in AI and NLU is an important way for Sinch to ensure that our enterprise customers and channel partners can fully realize this opportunity”, comments Oscar Werner, CEO of Sinch.

Whereas first-generation chatbot implementations rely on simplistic scripts and keyword analysis, intelligent conversational AI leverages Natural Language Understanding to determine what a person wants to achieve when she engages with a business through text or voice chat. This creates a step-change in usability, fuels productivity, and means that live agents can focus on the smaller number of complex questions that the chatbot is unable to resolve.

Like Sinch, Chatlayer has a Go-To-Market model that leverages multiple channel partners in addition to direct field sales. Strong partnerships are particularly important when deploying AI and NLU-based tools for businesses with advanced requirements and in situations which may require specialist expertise in system integration and conversational design.

The Chatlayer.ai SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform is currently used by a range of enterprise customers including Belgian bank Belfius and insurance leader Foyer, and the company has established partnership relationships with companies like Proximus, Ordina and KPMG. Recurring revenue is growing rapidly. In 2019, Chatlayer generated revenues of EUR 0.8 million, Gross Profit of EUR 0.7 million, and EBITDA of EUR -0.9 million. The company is based in Antwerp and currently employs 17 people.

“We have built a platform that leverages AI and NLU to improve customer experience and drive measurable business outcomes. We are excited to partner with Sinch who adds deep mobile expertise and can help scale our offering to an international audience”, comments Rick van Esch, Chatlayer CEO.

The transaction is expected to close in April 2020 and will be financed using Sinch’s available cash at hand. Sinch has a financial target to maintain net debt/adjusted EBITDA below 2.5x over time. As of Q4 2019, net debt/adjusted EBITDA was 1.7x when measured on a rolling, twelve-month basis. All else equal, the acquisition of Chatlayer increases Sinch’s net debt/EBITDA by 0.1x to 1.8x.

Webcast

A conference call for analysts and investors will take place today, March 19, at 14.00 CET. The live webcast will be available at investors.sinch.com/webcast, where it will also be possible to ask questions. Presentation materials will be available at investors.sinch.com.

For further information, please contact

Thomas Heath
Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Investor Relations
Sinch AB (publ)
Mobile:        +46-722-45 50 55
E-mail:         thomas.heath@sinch.com

About Sinch

Sinch brings businesses and people closer with tools enabling personal engagement. Its leading cloud communications platform lets businesses reach every mobile phone on the planet, in seconds or less, through mobile messaging, voice and video. Sinch is a trusted software provider to mobile operators, and its platform powers business-critical communications for many of the world’s largest companies. Sinch has been profitable and fast-growing since its foundation in 2008. It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has local presence in more than 30 countries. Shares are traded at NASDAQ Stockholm: XSTO:SINCH. Visit us at sinch.com.

About Chatlayer

Founded in 2018, Chatlayer is a platform to build high-performing chat- and voicebots that work in 100+ language. Its custom-built AI ensures superior Natural Language Understanding and provides business users with actionable insights and advice on how to improve bot performance before and after the bot is deployed. Find out more at chatlayer.ai.

Important information

This communication may contain certain forward-looking statements. Such statements are all statements that do not relate to historical facts and include expressions such as “believe”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “assume”, “predict”, “intend”, “may”, “presuppose”, “should” or similar. The forward-looking statements in this release are based on various estimates and assumptions that in several cases are based on additional assumptions. Although Sinch believes these assumptions were reasonable when made, such forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that are difficult or impossible to predict and that are beyond Sinch’s control. Such risks, uncertainties and important factors could cause the actual results to differ materially from the results expressly or implicitly indicated in this communication through the forward-looking statements. The information, perceptions and the forward-looking statements in this release apply only as of the date of this release and may change without notice.

This information is information that Sinch AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the contact person set out above, at 08:00 CET on March 19, 2020.

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