Traders News Source Editor, Mark Roberts Interviews Jason DiBona CEO at AeroClean Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AERC)
Jason DiBona CEO AeroClean Technologies, Inc.
Mr. DiBona has served as our Chief Executive Officer since May 2020. Mr. DiBona brings more than 25 years of experience in developing and executing strategies for sustainable growth. He has held leadership roles in medical and healthcare technologies, global sales operations and start-up environments and has experience working with diverse private and public sector clients in more than 120 countries. Mr. DiBona spent the majority of his career, from 1999 to 2014, at GE Healthcare, holding multiple leadership and business development roles across the global healthcare organization. After his time at GE Healthcare, from 2014 to 2018, Mr. DiBona led the sales and marketing efforts at ePreop, a start-up medical software developer, with a successful launch and exit in the role of Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to AeroClean, Mr. DiBona served as Senior Vice President of Global Sales Strategies for America’s largest homebuilder, Lennar Corporation. Mr. DiBona earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from the University of Central Florida.
The recent FDA clearance for Purgo as a Class II Medical Device is a major step for AERC. What is the potential impact of this milestone?
We’re incredibly proud to have reached this milestone. FDA clearance provides regulatory validation of our body of work and the years of research and development, testing and product development that have gone into launching Pūrgo™ since its concept was initially formed. The Pūrgo™system was initially designed to help address the massive problem of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and the growing danger of pathogens in hospitals. Since then, the global pandemic has increased the awareness of the importance of improving indoor air quality (IAQ) to combat airborne viruses and bacteria as well as to improve sustainability, reduce energy consumption, increase productivity and increase overall health and well-being. To achieve FDA clearance, Pūrgo™ has been rigorously tested in a variety of laboratory environments, and its performance and efficacy have been validated by an independent regulatory body. We are excited to sell a product to our customers with the confidence that our claims are supported by science. Receiving FDA clearance represents the work and dedication our team has put forth to help address HAIs and improve air quality in other sectors where people meet, work and live.
How will the new FDA status impact market penetration?
Receiving FDA clearance classifying our Pūrgo technology as a Class II Medical Device gives us the industry validation needed to further saturate our customer base in the healthcare industry and beyond. Within the healthcare industry, healthcare facilities rely on regulatory organizations like the FDA to approve products and technologies that can meet rigorous hospital standards and quality of care. In healthcare settings, FDA clearance sets Pūrgo™ apart from the competition where discriminating customers are seeking industry-leading, scientifically proven solutions to deploy in clinical settings. Outside of healthcare, FDA clearance narrows the field of competition from a multitude of competing air purification devices to a very small subset of devices that have received FDA clearance. In the non-healthcare sector, we believe customers are looking for medical grade solutions to combat medical challenges, like viruses and bacteria. Additionally, they are looking for a solutions provider they can trust with credibility backed by science and validation from an independent regulatory body. FDA clearance provides that credibility for the AeroClean team and Pūrgo™ device. We have now separated ourselves from the majority of our competition and entered the market with a competitive advantage.
There is a lot of competition in the air purification sector. How will you differentiate Purgo from the others in the marketplace?
In addition to the advantages afforded by FDA clearance that we discussed above, obtaining FDA clearance is time-consuming and costs and represents a significant competitive advantage over non-FDA-cleared devices that can’t be quickly or easily replicated. Additionally, Pūrgo™ was designed in collaboration between a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon and experts in the fields of aerospace and medical device manufacturing utilizing, amongst other things, ray tracing, computational fluid dynamics, mathematical modeling and the latest in materials science to optimize air flow, maximize killing power and reduce the overall size of the device. The result of this collaboration was a device employing a number of patented technologies including the SteriDuct™ technology, which differentiates AeroClean from others in the marketplace in that it utilizes UV-C LEDs to directly irradiate and kill microorganisms that pass through it. Pūrgo™ also uses a multi-layer filtration cartridge, which includes a pre-filter for large particles, activated carbon to filter odors and organic vapors, and a HEPA (H14) filter for pollen, mold allergens, and most microorganisms. Pūrgo™ operates at the peak germicidal wavelength of 265 nanometers, deactivating the DNA and RNA of pathogens and destroying their ability to multiply and cause infection. In addition, with its robust motor to optimize airflow within our SteriDuct™ technology, Pūrgo™ can be deployed to sanitize the air at least 4-6 times per hour.
Do you have any guidance for FYE 2022 revenues and for FYE 2023 revenues?
We have not provided revenue guidance for FY 2022 or FY 2023, but hope to issue guidance in the future as our commercialization and sales strategy continue to ramp.
While we have not issued guidance, qualitatively, we can discuss our sales initiatives. We have been focused on building out our sales organization to target various industry channels and distribution opportunities within healthcare, public (schools and governments), commercial office, and hospitality and leisure (hotels, country clubs and gyms) sectors.
To that end, we recently hired a vice president of strategic sales, Jimmy Thompson, to support the effort. He will focus on supporting the growth of the sales team,strengthening the brand, and driving revenue growth while bolstering existing relationships and developing new partners within healthcare, commercial restoration and sports and entertainment. Jimmy has a proven track record with over 30 years in sales leadership roles, the last 19 of which were at a world-leading supplier of information technology services, devices, and hardware used at more than 27,000 facilities around the world. We are excited to have him on board and to have him lead our upcoming sales initiatives.
Additionally, we plan to grow sales organically through the launch of a new product. Pūrgo™ Lift is our solution engineered for elevators and other wall/ceiling-mounted applications, which is critical to many companies’ safe return to work where elevators remain an acute point of vulnerability in office buildings, schools, hospitals and other large buildings. In addition to organic growth through development of the market for Pūrgo™ and the launch of Pūrgo™ Lift, we will focus on the potential for complementary and synergistic acquisitions in the IAQ and health security space where we believe there is significant potential for consolidation and growth.
What is the TAM for Purgo, and are your contracted manufacturing services provider(s) able to meet any level of demand?
The total addressable U.S. market for Pūrgo is estimated to be more than $26 billion including an estimated $12 billion U.S. healthcare opportunity. We believe our contract manufacturing partners will be able to meet our projected demand throughout our growth phase, despite ongoing issues within the broader global supply chain.
What do you think is the biggest strength of AERC? What does your company do well?
We believe we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the emerging market for air hygiene products and services and that we will act as a disrupter to the existing hierarchy of traditional HVAC and cleaning businesses that do not adequately address the emerging threat of human pathogen cross infection and transmission. We believe our principle strengths in capturing this opportunity are:
• Superior core technology embedded in our patented, UV-C LED air treatment technology utilized in the Pūrgo air purification device.
• Validation of efficacy and technology through independent testing at third party laboratories and FDA 510(k) clearance to validate the design and manufacturing rigor of the Pūrgo air purification device.
• Our team of dedicated engineers, regulatory officers and sales and marketing professionals, which we believe provide our Company with an advantage over smaller and regional competitors, as well as those larger competitors who are not focused specifically on pathogen elimination as a dedicated priority and do not currently have truly competitive products in their portfolios of products and services.
• Our executive team, which includes our chief executive officer and chief financial officer, with backgrounds in building and leading international healthcare sales teams and growing large, international public companies organically and through strategic acquisitions, respectively, establishing the cornerstone of a first-class management team.
• Proven track record of our board with experience building and leading some of the world’s foremost companies in their respective fields and industries
Would you describe your vision of growth for your company both in the near term and long term?
In the near term, we plan to drive sales initiatives that support our core business and revenue growth through partnerships with targeted industry verticals including healthcare, commercial restoration, and the sports and entertainment industry. In the long term, we look forward to providing our customers with an industry-leading, comprehensive indoor air quality solution.
Thank you for your time Jason.
The Traders News Group
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