Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Article Index





 Despite the economic crisis, the market of wellness and fitness holds. Italy is the fourth European market in terms of sales - after the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany - and the forecasts of the operators are positive.

Currently the strategies followed to evaluate the performance in sports are three.


The first is the determination of the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), which can be done only in specialized centers with the appropriate instrumentation. The VO2max is determined performing a test with a cicloergometer, breathing through a tube, connected to a machine that measures the amount of oxygen inhalated and the CO2 exhalated and the heart rate.

 The second is based only on the measure of heart rate, which is proportional to VO2max (Cooper test and Karvonen test). This measurement does not have the same precision of spirometry and tables reporting the heart rate intervals are based on statistical data defined by gender and age, thus they are coarse. Currently, the measurement of heart rate is the most common practice to monitor non-competitive training.

 Measuring the level of lactate (lactate threshold or anaerobic threshold) is the best parameter to predict and to monitor during time the endurance performance and it is the most used parameter at competitive level. This measure is currently invasive and requires the measure of lactic acid in blood.


 The innovative aspect of our product, i.e. the fact that the measure can easily performed on sweat instead of blood, opens the market of this product to new customers, thus bridging both the potential gap and the competitive gap. In sports, for example, potential customers are no longer only agonists, but amateurs of all ages, who become so able to adapt their training to their physical condition and to their performance goals. Our lactometer has even wider use if we think about the role of lactate in the prevention, e.g. in the case of harmful overtraining (elderly people, cardipathic people, diabetics patients, for whom physical activity is recommended but it must be carried out "safely"). The potential customer is not only agonists or the coach of a team of athletes, but also a usual gyms customer that would periodically check his/her performance level or an elderly person who has to choose his/her proper workout, or coaches or teams of children (athletes or not). If the lactate analyser is available in the gym, the customer could buy only the disposable diagnostic strips. It can be estimated that the assessment of lactic acid for a single individual in a single training session requires 8-10 measurements, thus 8-10 disposable strips.

Considering the number of gym in Italy (8500 clubs with 5,5 milions of customers-2011 data) and considering that each gym could buy 3 lactate analysers (for a gym with about 750 customers) a company formed around this device could grow fast. More devices allow to perform the test simultaneously on more customers. A competitive cost of sale of this device could be 300-350 euro/device. The machine is robust and it should be likely replaced every 5 years. About market penetration in Italy, considering the sale of 3 analyser/gym and assuming that 10% of gyms buy the product each year, the Italian revenue forecast for the sales of the device could be 900,000 euros/year.

However, large part of the business lies in the sale of the disposable diagnostic strips, estimated in 10/performance test. Assuming a minimal number of 10 tests/week (for a gym with about 750 customers) over 50 weeks/year, we can estimate a sale of 5000 disposable strips/year. Currently, the actual cost of each strip is 1.4 euro. Considering a competitive cost of sale of 2.5 euro/strip, the business related to consumables is about 30 times the cost of sale of each single analyser.

An analogous estimation considering the number of Italian personal trainers is in progress.

The employment of our analyzer in the clinical evaluation of cardiopathic patients during stress test on cycloergometer could be a growth area of this project to be developed by R&D staff with medical staff.