Novita Healthcare (ASX:NHL): ground-breaking game-based training

Glenn Smith

Novita Healthcare is a medical technology company listed on the ASX, focused on the development of innovative TALI technology through its subsidiary TALI Health, with the aim of becoming a leader in the assessment and treatment of childhood attention difficulties by pioneering digital solutions for children across the world.

Novita’s technology solutions are reshaping the global health and education sectors, providing software that can make an impact in early childhood and create significant socio-economic outcomes for both developed and developing economies. Novita’s Managing Director is Glenn Smith, an experienced CEO, entrepreneur and investor with success in growing customer-centric businesses that deliver global technology solutions. Mr Smith spoke with The Australian Business Executive about the company’s commitment to developing research-driven software, its growing line of exciting products, and the significant returns on offer for investors in a number of global markets.

Leveraging research and technology

“Novita Healthcare is a technology company,” Mr Smith explains, “and we’re driven by developing technology and commercialising that technology, so really productising software algorithms into applications.”

The company’s first line of products focusses on the early childhood sector, comprising of applications that are interventions and assessments for children with attention issues such as attention hyperactivity disorder and autism.

“We have taken research that has come out of a significant institution in Australia, Monash University in Victoria. That is a twenty-year research project that has really developed the basis of how we’ve built the algorithms and the software.”

This lengthy research has provided a solid platform, through proven scientific trials and peer reviewed published papers, to help Novita deliver real outcomes to children struggling with attention issues, particularly those between the ages of three to eight years.

“We deliver products that can be accessible to children, to parents, to teachers and healthcare professionals, that aren’t invasive and that compliment other interventions such as pharmaceuticals, or other types of clinical intervention, that can be used out of clinic and out of home as well.”

The company through which Novita is marketing these products is its subsidiary company, TALI Health Pty Ltd, a Melbourne-based firm made up of a team of neuroscientists, software engineers and games developers.

The TALI technology is focused on children in age ranges three to eight years. Prior to adolescence, until about the age of fourteen, the human brain develops at a rapid rate, making it the ideal stage to intervene on any potential issues.

The TALI Train application is in market now for children in Australia, having produced significant results in Singapore and Hong Kong

“Your neuroplasticity, or how pliable your brain is, is very significant at that stage. So it allows any type of intervention to potentially change the neural pathways. We have a non-drug intervention that is delivered through a game-based training program, that actually trains the brain and the research suggests changes the neural pathways to the child so that they learn better attention skills.”

Helping them develop skills in a more robust fashion, strengthening their core attention so they can build on the experience going forward.

Strengthening and assessing core attention

“We’re at a very exciting stage,” Mr Smith says. “Our first product is a product called TALI Train, and that is the intervention that is delivered through the application. It’s an intensive five-week intervention, and it can be used by children from 3 to 8 at home, with a healthcare professional or in a school setting.”

The TALI Train application is in market now for children in Australia, having produced significant results in Singapore and Hong Kong, where clients are already purchasing and using the application.

“We’re really looking to expand into other markets, such as North America, and we have activities underway right now for the global deployment of the TALI Train product into international markets.”

The five-week programme has been designed on the basis of trials and scientific evidence, with this age group representing the earliest time that proven results have been collected, but it is by no means the limit of the application’s scope.

“We are developing ongoing additions to TALI Train, where children can simply activate the application ongoing, and continue to use TALI to strengthen and maintain those attention gains, so that they can feel like they’re winning from this particular type of activity.”

Even more exciting in the long term is the ongoing work of the company’s Research & Development arm, which is working on a second product, to be launched later in 2019, called TALI Detect.

“That is a very quick, 15 to 20-minute screening assessment tool for every child on the planet, to see what type of inattention issues they might have. They can do that and then be helped either by a healthcare professional, educator or parent, and they may actually choose to then go onto the training programme, TALI Train.”

The real significance of TALI Detect is that it will be available to all children, at an early age, helping education and health departments globally to assess which children might be at risk and put early intervention into practice.

In order to successfully market the TALI technology, Novita has developed both a B2C and B2B strategy, designed to effectively transmit the message about the benefits of TALI Train and other products to the public.

“[With] the consumer strategy, we have taken the approach that parents should have access to these new digital interventions, so they can participate in their child’s outcome from these solutions. So we market using social channels that allow parents to feel like they’re part of a community, and that they can help their child from the get-go with their attention.”

The company’s B2B strategy is primarily focused on going direct to schools, but also involves plans to partner with organisations that have a foothold in education in different geographic areas, such as Asia and North America.

“We’re looking for them to help us co-market these products back out through their existing customers, and perhaps complimenting some of the other applications and software that they deliver out to schools and education districts in Asia and North America.”

In order to achieve this, the company has been building the internal capability to help train those organisations in how to seamlessly deliver the TALI software through a positive customer experience, and why it is so important to do so.

“We’re certainly squarely focused on delivering out our current product, TALI Train, so we can be the first to market and really get a foothold in the digital therapeutics early intervention space for these kinds of applications.”

Significant returns for investors

“About eighteen months ago I was recruited in as CEO of Novita Healthcare. My background is in taking technology, and building teams and companies, and scaling them globally, to deliver technology solutions, or products and services, to both consumers and businesses.”

The team has worked previously in such diverse sectors as healthcare, education, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality and more, successfully commercialising and building companies, both listed and private

“I’ve raised a significant amount of capital to do that,” Mr Smith explains, “and I’ve helped those companies build organisations that deliver those products and services to global audiences.”

One of Novita’s real strengths is a team of skilled individuals working within the organisation, from software development, to commercialisation and capital, and most importantly the core business of marketing the products and services.

“That runs from the top down. Our board is strong in terms of our ability to leverage the marketing and sales skills, and the scientific and law skills, of someone like Sue MacLeman, who’s Chair of Novita Healthcare.”

Ms MacLeman has over thirty years’ experience in the areas of biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, and is also Chair of several other ASX and NASDAQ listed companies in Australia.

The rest of the board is made up of Jefferson Harcourt, an expert in commercialisation who leads a world-class team in his own business of commercialisation experts, and Mark Simari, who has more than twenty years’ experience in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and developing companies to scale.

“Those type of really key human assets at the board level have allowed us to bring in a whole lot of talented people in the operational area, that really will allow us to market this to key global audiences.”

For investors in parent company Novita, there is a substantial opportunity for significant returns. Running as a software development company, Novita develops particularly high-margin products and solutions.

“Because they’re high margin, and we’re global, we will have significant volumes, and the plan is that we have significant revenues from the sale of those applications. So, a very high margin business that will deliver profits.”

Additionally, by building socially conscious software and applications focused on improving the lives of children, the company offers individuals a social impact investment strategy for their portfolio, allowing them to be a part of a company that is reshaping the global intervention market for children with new technology solutions.

“This is a really global opportunity, and we have a great head start on our competitors. This is a world first in this space for 3 to 8 year olds, this type of intervention. That’s exciting for investors, and other people who partner with us, to realise that we can gain traction early on and make TALI and Novita Healthcare significant brands in global markets.”

Find out more about Tali Health by visiting www.talihealth.com.

Find out more about Novita Healthcare (ASX:NHL) by visiting www.novitahealthcare.com.au.