March 27, 2015 / 12:47 PM / 3 years ago

ReWalk Robotics plans India launch of walking device by second quarter

(Reuters) - ReWalk Robotics Ltd plans to launch its wearable robotic exoskeleton device in India by the second quarter of 2015, Chief Executive Larry Jasinski said.

The device, ReWalk, provides powered hip and knee motion to enable people with lower-limb disabilities, such as paraplegia, to stand upright, walk, and in some cases, climb stairs.

“We ship the first few units within the next 10 days,” Jasinski told Reuters. “We’ll go through a period of training preparation with the distributor.”

The device, already available in several countries including Australia, Germany, Japan and Taiwan, is powered by a rechargeable battery encased in a backpack worn by the patient.

ReWalk, approved in the United States and the European Union, was invented by the company’s Israeli founder, Amit Goffer, a quadriplegic.

The company will launch the device in north India through a deal with New Delhi-based surgical products distributor Saimed Innovations.

India, the world’s second most populated country, is a largely untapped market for such advanced devices, with most patients currently using crutches, wheelchairs and rigid braces for support.

ReWalk Robotics estimates there are about 800,000 paraplegics in India.

A number of patients have already made inquiries and are waiting to the see the product and test it, said Rishi Kapoor, a partner at Saimed Innovations.

Jasinski declined to estimate how many devices the company expected to sell in its first year in the country.

ReWalk Robotics, which went public in the United States in September, has a market value of about $162 million.

The company sold 74 devices in 2014.

ReWalk Robotics plans to sell the device at about 4.6 million-4.7 million Indian rupees ($73,217-$74,808), similar to the pricing in the United States and Europe.

The company and its Indian partner are looking at various options including working with government agencies and not-for-profit organizations to make the device more accessible.

“For instance, the device can be introduced in government rehabilitation centers, where patients can be rehabilitated on a rental model,” Kapoor said.

ReWalk Robotics shares closed at $13.52 on Thursday on the Nasdaq. Up to Thursday’s close, the stock had nearly halved in value since its strong debut on Sept. 12.

($1 = 62.83 Indian rupees)

Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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