Surgically implanted, magnetically activated device to treat sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder characterized by repeated disruptions to breathing during sleep. Men, the elderly and the obese are at elevated risk for OSA. The apnea market is both large and highly underserved. In the US alone, 20 million people (about 1 in 15) suffer from apnea. The first-line treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which is efficacious at preventing airway closure but has poor compliance in many patients, thus limiting its effectiveness.
The Magnap team has prototyped a minimally-invasive surgical device to prevent airway collapse during sleep. The technology offers to replace the uncomfortable, noisy masks and pumps of CPAP with a small, surgically implanted device. The device is activated only at night and therefore does not have an effect on speaking, swallowing or breathing. It can be implanted on an outpatient basis in a short surgery. The solution is user-activated, titratable and reversible. Proof-of-concept cadaver studies have been performed with very encouraging results.
We are currently refining the prototypes, conducting bench-top testing and continuing with further cadaver experiments. As we evolve the design, our top priorities are to improve the ease of surgical implantation, improve the comfort of using the device and maximize the effectiveness at preventing airway collapse. We are actively setting up partnerships for the manufacturing and safety testing of the device and working on the clinical trial design.