Queensland-based Oventus Medical (ASX: OVN) has released what it believes to be “an important addition” to its line-up of oral devices designed to assist patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.
The O2Vent Optima is a customised oral appliance designed to reduce airway collapsibility and manage mouth breathing, with or without a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) commonly used in sleep apnoea treatment.
The compact, nylon device advances the jaw forward to open a patient’s airways and allow air to flow to the back of the mouth unobstructed, while maintaining an oral seal and stable jaw position.
It will bypass multiple obstructions from the nose, soft palate and tongue, and incorporates Oventus’ proprietary airway technology to improve the effectiveness of oral appliance therapy.
Oventus managing director Dr Chris Hart said the O2Vent has been specifically designed for people who tend to breathe through their mouth when sleeping, as a result of nasal obstructions.
“While it may seem counterintuitive, this technology actually manages mouth breathing by converting it to device breathing and normalising ventilation,” he said.
More lightweight than its predecessor and less complex to make, Dr Hart said Oventus has been able to save on the cost of materials used to produce the new device while reducing its manufacturing time.
This has resulted in a dual win for customers, with an overall unit price reduction and shorter timeframes from point-of-sale to delivery.
Oventus is preparing to launch a second product to the sleep apnoea market which will integrate with selected O2Vent devices to naturally increase airflow and airway stability.
The ExVent valve has been clinically-proven to increase the success rates of traditional mouthguard devices.
The product was developed in collaboration with CSIRO and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) on the back of a three-year, $2.95 million Co-operative Research Centres Project federal grant.
Following the Australian launch of O2Vent Optima and ExVent, Dr Hart said there are plans to release both products to markets in the United States and Europe.
A report published by Sleep Health Foundation Australia estimates around 1.5 million Australians suffer with sleep disorders and more than 50% of those are afflicted with a potentially-fatal obstructive sleep apnoea.
CPAP therapy – where a mask or nosepiece is attached to a hose and hooked up to a machine to deliver constant and steady air pressure – has traditionally been the most definitive medical solution for obstructive sleep apnoea.
However, many patients report difficulties tolerating CPAP, with reasons including feelings of claustrophobia, pressure sores, and a general annoyance at having to wear a mask every night.
Oral appliances such as mouthguards are emerging as an alternative to CPAP for the treatment of various levels of obstructive sleep apnoea.
At midday, shares in Oventus Medical were trading 10% higher at $0.33.