Intelligent Ultrasound Group (AIM:IUG) is still at an early stage, but prospects are bright

If you were to walk into the imaging department of any NHS hospital, what would you see? A room filled with patients waiting for X-rays, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic procedures. The atmosphere can be tense, with restless patients, stressed receptionists, and fatigued doctors and technicians.

Intelligent Ultrasound aims to streamline, expedite, and enhance this process. Despite its current price of just 7.25p per share, the stock is expected to experience significant growth this year and beyond.

Originally a spin-off of Cardiff University, the company’s first product was a simulation tool to train medical students on how to conduct ultrasound scans. Using digital platforms such as online teaching, virtual reality, and other advanced technologies, trainee doctors and sonographers learn how to scan patients and interpret the results with precision.

Intelligent Ultrasound’s global reach has expanded over time, and it is now recognized as one of the leading companies in this field, with around 10% of the market and a reputation for exceptional quality.

However, four years ago, CEO Stuart Gall recognized an opportunity to expand beyond the classroom and into the clinic. The company began developing equipment to aid medical teams in real-world hospital settings, where the stakes are higher and the need for accurate diagnosis is paramount.

Intelligent Ultrasound has developed two groundbreaking products: one for obstetrics and the other for certain types of local anaesthetic, both utilizing artificial intelligence to improve and streamline the ultrasound process.

For expecting mothers, the 20-week scan is a critical milestone in their pregnancy journey. Medical professionals must conduct a comprehensive check of 21 different areas of the fetus to ensure everything is developing correctly, a precise and often time-consuming process that can be stressful for all involved. Intelligent Ultrasound’s software automates the procedure, notifying doctors when the necessary images are available and alerting them to any abnormalities.

The technology has attracted the attention of GE, the world’s leading manufacturer of obstetric ultrasound machines. Under an agreement signed with CEO Stuart Gall, GE has the first option on any software Intelligent Ultrasound develops for obstetrics and gynaecology. The technology has already been incorporated into approximately 5,000 GE machines, with an additional 10,000 expected to follow suit by mid-2024.

In addition to its obstetric offering, Intelligent Ultrasound has gained US regulatory approval for a second product that aids anaesthetists in administering certain types of local anaesthetics, commonly known as nerve blocks. These blocks are safer than general anaesthetics and allow for same-day treatment, reducing costs for hospitals and improving patient outcomes. Ultrasound is crucial in ensuring precise needle placement for optimal results, and Intelligent Ultrasound’s latest innovation displays nerves and arteries in real-time to help anaesthetists administer treatment with utmost accuracy.

Today, even experienced anaesthetists may be hesitant to administer nerve blocks due to differences in the process from their typical practice. Intelligent Ultrasound’s technology aims to increase confidence in administering this form of anaesthesia, potentially leading to greater adoption. The company’s equipment is already in use at several UK hospitals, including John Radcliffe in Oxford, Hull Royal Infirmary, Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, and University College London.

Following US regulatory approval, CEO Stuart Gall has set his sights on American clinics, either independently or with the backing of a partner such as GE. Intelligent Ultrasound also plans to introduce additional ultrasound tools in the coming years.

Various methods, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerised tomography (CT) scans, can be used to determine what is happening inside a patient’s body. Ultrasound technology is often preferred due to its speed, safety, and affordability.

Although Intelligent Ultrasound is currently a small, Cardiff-based business with forecasted revenues of £10 million in 2022 and almost £18 million in 2024, the company’s potential for growth is promising. While the company is presently in a loss-making stage due to CEO Gall’s reinvestment of returns into the business, it is expected to become profitable within the next two years and grow rapidly thereafter.

Intelligent Ultrasound’s innovative technology has already been implemented by numerous hospitals and GE. While the company is still in its early stages, its prospects are bright. 

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