Bionik Laboratories Corp. (OTCQX:BNKL) (a robotics company focused on providing rehabilitation and assistive technology solutions to individuals with neurological and mobility challenges from hospital to home) announced a joint development project (the “Agreement”) with Wistron Corporation (TPE:3231) (“Wistron”). Pursuant to the Agreement, the two companies will partner to design, engineer, and manufacture low-price, lower-body assistive robotic technologies for mass commercial sale within the consumer home products market.
The companies plan to base the new consumer exoskeleton products off Bionik’s ARKE lower body exoskeleton, currently in clinical development for use within rehabilitation environments, as well as incorporating other important intellectual property relating to Bionik’s acquired or licensed assistive robotic technologies. The companies intend to target the Asian market initially, where the aging/elderly population is projected to hit 983 million by 2050, increasing the need for affordable assistive technologies over the next half century.
Wistron, which designs and manufactures technology products for global distribution with annual revenue exceeding $20 billion, will co-develop with Bionik a consumer exoskeleton product, which will be sold under the Bionik brand name and at a price point so they can be more widely available to the mass consumer market.
“Wistron is a highly significant organization within the manufacturing industry, so having an opportunity to combine our industry-leading expertise within the robotics industry with their product development resources is incredible for us,” said Peter Bloch, Chief Executive Officer of Bionik. “Our years of experience in medical robotics has provided us with strong clinical data and technology to help us access this growing market of robotics technologies in the area of human assistance. We intend to continue to seek out additional partnerships that will allow us to bring our technology to a mass audience within the consumer products sector.”
The medical robotics market is projected to be worth $12.8B by 2021, up from $4.9B in 2016, according to a recent report. This provides a significant opportunity for Bionik to partner with larger manufacturers and provide technical expertise to develop products for distribution at larger scale within a high growth market.
The industry has seen a rise of robotics and smart technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning within the medical field, but much of that innovation is within a clinical setting. As such, there exists a tremendous opportunity for disruption within the consumer space, as Bionik does not believe that there are currently options that are both viable and affordable.
Wistron is one of the world’s largest original design manufacturers, and has worked with some of the world’s largest companies to design and manufacture consumer technology products and bring them to market. Upon completion of the design of any new product conceived within the framework of the Agreement, Wistron would be the sole manufacturer.
Michal Prywata, co-founder and COO of Bionik: “This partnership with Wistron represents a tremendous opportunity for Bionik to bring our technology to a massive consumer audience. When it comes to the commercialization of consumer tech products – design, engineering, and manufacturing – Wistron is a leader.” He went on to say, “Our leading robotic technologies are already available in more than 200 facilities across the globe, but this partnership with Wistron will allow us to provide access to a much larger consumer market.”