Cochlear: Adult market the key to future growth

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Cochlear chair Rick Holliday-Smith said the past financial year saw the company focus on building awareness and market access to cochlear implants, expanding its marketing activities and customer servicing capability while maintaining a commitment to product innovation.

Mr Holliday-Smith was speaking at the annual general meeting with the company announcing a 13 per cent increase in profit to $276.7 million.

He said the company has a range of "important initiatives" designed to increase the uptake of cochlear implants over the coming decade, including the construction of a consistent treatment pathway for adults and seniors.

"Over the past 30 years, cochlear implants have been established as the standard of care for children born with a severe to profound hearing loss, with high adoption rates across most developed countries. The challenge today, in developed markets, is the lack of a consistent treatment pathway for diagnosing and treating adults," he said.

Mr Holliday-Smith said more countries were broadening reimbursed access to cochlear implants

He continued, "From a long-term product development perspective, we achieved a major milestone this year by entering the next phase in the development of a totally implantable cochlear implant, with the start of a further clinical feasibility study.

"This study will evaluate the performance and safety of our totally implantable cochlear implant technology, which can be used with and without an external sound processor, providing people with 24- hour hearing."

"The development of totally implantable cochlear implant technology is complex, and we do not expect a commercially available product for many years," said Mr Holliday-Smith.

The company is also in the process of developing a new manufacturing facility in China, which he said is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

He said he would serve one more term as chair. "I will be working closely with the Board on the renewal process for my role and it is likely I will retire from the Board during this new three-year term. I think the Board works well together and I thank my Board colleagues for their hard work and commitment."