Shares in Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (EKSO), a maker of robotic exoskeletons, have more than quadrupled over the past nine trading sessions after the market homed in on news that the company was partnering with Ford Motor Company (F) in the testing of its Eksovest exoskeleton.
An exoskeleton is a powered outer framework that can be worn by a worker in a tiring, repetitive job that could cause physical injury, pain and inflammation. The exoskeleton enhances strength, mobility and endurance and can work for extended periods of time, depending on battery life.
It is also provides valuable support to paraplegics and people with lower extremity damage.
Pictured below is the Eksovest being tested at Ford on employees doing overhead work while assembling vehicles.
The Eksovest is being tested at two Ford plants, and it is hoped that employees wearing it will get relief from fatigue and strain as the device can provide between five pounds and 15 pounds of lifting support to each of the wearer’s arms. The vest is also expected to reduce injuries.
Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EKSO) Overview
California-based Ekso has been developing robotic exoskeletons for over 10 years now and its products are used for both medical and industrial applications.
Apart from an industrial application such as with an automotive company like Ford, Ekso exoskeletons are also used in the construction and utility sectors.
In 2016, Ekso received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its Ekso GT robotic exoskeleton for use in the treatment of individuals with hemiplegia due to stroke, and individuals with spinal cord injuries.
In recent rehabilitation success stories, a woman who could not walk 7 feet using parallel bars was able to walk 40 feet using a roller walker after just 2 sessions in the Ekso GT. Similarly, a man who was entirely immobile was able to walk 20 feet with the rolling walker after 2 sessions in the Ekso GT.
It appears the company is finally achieving traction and recognition for its products in both the industrial and medical spheres.
“Most of our customers who initially adopt Ekso GT via short-term rentals ultimately purchase units, and we are making good progress on converting a number of our current rental contracts into sales contracts before the end of 2017,” said Thomas Looby, CEO, President and Director, on the latest earnings call for the third quarter.
Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EKSO) Financials
Highlights for Ekso’s latest third quarter 2017 are as follows:
- Total revenue was $1.6 million, up 10% year on year
- Gross profit at $0.5 million was up 25% year on year
- Gross margins improved to 34% from 25%
- Operating expenses were $7.6 million, up 4.1% year on year, primarily due to research activity and commercialization efforts
- Net loss was $6.3 million, down 46% from last year.
On the liquidity front, the company concluded during the quarter a $34 million rights offering, $20 million of which was underwritten by Puissance Capital. It carried $33.4 million cash as at the end of September 2017 compared to $16.8 million as at December 31, 2016.
“Today our balance sheet is the strongest that it’s ever been, and we are focused on leveraging our financial resources to identify and pursue options that will enable us to build a sustainable business model,” said Looby.
What’s working for Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EKSO)
The company will likely benefit from the positive publicity received after the Ford news, and this should give a boost to its industrial products.
The company notes that there is a rising trend of converting rental units into owned ones. If this takes off it will be highly beneficial for Ekso’s finances.
Ekso may now be able to strike lucrative partnerships in its field. With the investment by Puissance and the fully financed rights offering the company hopes to enter a joint venture that could lower its costs and enhance its reach in the United States and abroad.
Equally, the chances are now much brighter that a larger rival may be interested in acquiring the company.
The company’s determined push into China will open up a market with huge potential in both the medical and industrial sectors.
Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EKSO) Competition
Don’t forget, however, that Ekso has a lot of competition to face.
Rivals include a wearable robot suit from Hyundai, and exoskeleton products from ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) and Parker-Hannafin (PH). The latter announced last month that the FDA had approved an expanded indication for its Indego exoskeleton, which was launched commercially in May 2016.
Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EKSO) Prospects for Appreciation
Even with the recent strident rise in the company’s stock price, one may recall that it touched a high of $12.32 in May 2015.
Depending upon favourable developments there is still a lot of upside room from the current price of $4.130.