Resilia Medical Solutions strikes distribution deal for medical device

Uresta inks co-distribution deal with pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare Canada.

By Rachel Cave, CBC News Posted: Oct 06, 2016 6:30 AM

Shediac company hopes new deal will create jobs, expand reach of its female incontinence product.

A New Brunswick company that makes a medical device to reduce bladder leakage in women recently inked a co-distribution deal with pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare Canada.

Stephen Goddard, the chief executive officer of Resilia Medical Solutions of Shediac, said the new deal should bring exponential sales growth and spur local hiring.

“This is an off-the-chart change for what it will do to our sales,” said Goddard.

Goddard said while business has been steady, it’s nothing like what it will be with the co-distribution deal.

“We’d been chugging along. In a given month, we might sell several dozen,” said Goddard.

“This will take us into the hundreds … if not 1,000 to 2,000 units per month.”

Compared to rubber tampon

The product, sold under the brand name Uresta, has been compared to a rubber tampon.

It’s a thumb-length plug that’s inserted into the vagina and pinches closed the urethra to stop urine from escaping when a woman is exercising or when she laughs or coughs.

Resilia Medical Solutions’ device to help prevent female medical incontinence has been described as a rubber tampon. (CBC)

Resilia bought the design from urogynaecologist Dr. Scott Farrell, a professor at Dalhousie University’s faculty of medicine.

Currently, it’s manufactured in Barrie, Ont., by a company called Southmedic.

Goddard said there may come a day when production can move into New Brunswick but that’s probably in the distant future.

Meanwhile, he said he expects to hire closer to home to get more people in sales and marketing support.

“Right now, we’re a three-person company,” said Goddard.

“By the end of next year, I hope to be 10 to 15.”

Goddard said he’s hoping for a payroll as large as 50 people, possibly within three years.

Nation-wide access

Founded in 2014, Aspen Pharmacare Canada is expected to help Resilia get its product in front of doctors and pharmacies.

“It gives us nation-wide access to a group of individuals that we essentially had no way to get to,” said Goddard.

It’s a relatively new branch of a global pharmaceutical giant that got its start in South Africa, making generic antiviral medications to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the parent company (APN) said it has 10,000 employees around the globe.

It’s a thumb-length plug that’s inserted into the vagina and pinches closed the urethra to stop urine from escaping when a woman is exercising or when she laughs or coughs. (Resilia Medical Solutions)

Resilia’s main marketing strategy to date has been word of mouth, social media and direct sales online and the New Brunswick staff will continue with that.

The Uresta Bladder Support device is licensed by Health Canada.

A starter kit of three sizes costs about $300.

The Canadian Continence Foundation estimated in 2014 that 14,000 women in New Brunswick experienced some form of female incontinence, sometimes aggravated by factors such as vaginal childbirth, ageing and obesity.

When the whole country is taken into account, the number rose to 714,000.

Shediac company wins award for female incontinence product

A Shediac-owned company has won a national award for its product that offers women a solution to urinary incontinence caused by pressure on the bladder from activities such as running, sneezing and coughing.

Resilia’s product, called Uresta, has earned a 2016 Product of the Year Canada award in the adult care incontinence category.

Canada is one of 40 countries to host the Product of the Year awards, which were founded in 1987 in France by former L’Oreal executive Christian Le-Bret. The awards, backed by Rogers Media in Canada, feature a jury of industry experts who select category finalists from innovative company product entries.

Canadian consumers then vote an online survey conducted by Rogers Custom Research Group. Winners can use the Product of the Year Canada designation for marketing businesses.

Resilia’s product, Uresta, now has the red seal approval. Uresta is a resin stopper, like a reusable tampon, that women can insert into their vagina. Its bell shape prevents the urethra muscle – a valve to the bladder – from opening at inopportune moments such as when women cough, sneeze or exercise. It can be worn during the day but should be removed before going to sleep at night. It’s washable, and each stopper lasts about a year. Women can still urinate normally with it inserted.

About one in three women over the age of 30 are estimated to have light bladder leakage, also referred to medically as stress urinary incontinence, according to Resilia’s literature.

Carol Chapman of Shediac, Resilia’s vice-president of marketing, said it wasn’t until she brought up the issue with a group of women she goes running with, that she realized how common the problem is. “I would say to people, ‘Do you have this issue, stress incontinence?’ And they would say, ‘Oh yes, I basically run and there’s nothing I can do about it, so I pee,’ ” she said, adding that some women use menstrual pads to catch the leak while others practise pelvic floor exercises to help reduce the problem.

However, Uresta, which was designed by Dalhousie University urogynecologist Dr. Scott A. Farrell and purchased two years ago by Resilia, is meant to offer a solution. “Basically, it is the only device that exists like it in the world,” said Chapman. “It just happens that we bought this from Dr. Farrell.”

For the past two years, the company has been preparing to manufacture the product in larger quantities; last year about 1,000 were sold in Canada and the United States, said Chapman. Now, they are able to sell about 50,000 a year.

A starter kit, which includes three stoppers in three different sizes, along with a case, costs about $260 and is covered by a majority of private health plans, said Chapman. She said it’s fairly easy to use. “It’s a bit like your first tampon – it’s trial and error,” she said. “You go into the ladies room, you try it, if you can walk around and you cannot feel it and you do not leak, you’re good to go.”

She said the sizes in the starter kit will fit about 80 per cent of women. If a woman finds she needs a size smaller or larger, the company will send it free of charge. Replacements cost about $160.


Photo: Laura Booth/Times & Transccript