Leading Israeli sleep apnea digital health company Itamar Medical has announced its acquisition of Spry Health in a bid to expand its product offerings into remote monitoring and support for the condition.
Itamar Medical CEO Gilad Glick identified Spry Health as a “perfect fit” to aid the company’s expansion. Of particular interest was Spry’s patented Loop System technology, a wearable device that collects continuous physiological data and flags signs of patient deterioration using biomarkers such as SpO2, heart rate and respiration rate.
Glick commented: “The acquisition of their FDA-cleared, wrist-worn technology and the addition of a knowledgeable pool of selected talented engineers, led by Spry co-founder and CTO Elad Ferber, provides an excellent platform for us to jump start our development initiatives to bring to market a continuous sleep apnea monitoring device to further support chronic disease management, particularly as it contributes to the added burden on cardiovascular disease.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Itamar is best known for its WatchPAT™, an innovative Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT) that attaches to a user’s index finger to record vital measurements that are downloaded and analysed within one minute to identify events of sleep apnoea.
WatchPAT™ measures peripheral arterial (PAT) signal, heart rate, oximetry, actigraphy, body position, snoring and chest motion. However, the device is only appropriate for single night diagnostics. With the acquired Spry technology, Itamar will be able to bring to market the first device for continuous RPM of sleep apnea, anticipated for release in 2022. This would open up the possibility of end-to-end digital care for sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and more comprehensive support for chronic cardiovascular disease and COPD.
“While finger-based monitoring yields the highest accuracy, it is currently not suitable for longer-term wear,” Glick continued. “A device that is designed for the wrist, while potentially less accurate for precise disease diagnostics, is more suitable for monitoring the continuous accumulated burden of sleep apnea and its potential impact on other diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions, due to its wearability over weeks or months.”
THE LARGER PICTURE
Itamar received FDA-clearance for a disposable HSAT in 2019, meaning users were able to receive the data and dispose of the device without having to send it back to the manufacturer.
In 2019, the total global RPM market was worth an estimated $800 million and is expected to reach $2 billion by 2027.
2020 saw some development in at-home sleep apnea monitoring solutions, such as the Withings Sleep Analyzer, a mat placed under the mattress that analyses sleep cycles and snoring through advanced sensors.
There has also been an increase in sleep tracking apps, such as Sleeprate, which is able to be linked to a user’s Garmin to deliver more comprehensive data and guidance to athletes, and SleepCheck, the ResApp OSA screening app, which analyses breathing sounds during sleep.
ON THE RECORD
Medical director of mechanical circulatory support at Moses Cone Health, Dan Bensimhon noted: “Sleep apnea is a serious and common respiratory disorder. Recent studies have shown that 50-80% of patients with cardiovascular disease including hypertension, stroke, atrial fibrillation and HF have significant sleep apnea – and patients with uncontrolled sleep apnea are more likely to have worse outcomes including uncontrolled hypertension, refractory afib and higher mortality. Enabling cardiac-based RPM programs in patients with CV disease will almost certainly be a game changer in helping us identify sleep apnea – and its burden – earlier in these patients and lead to better outcomes across the board.”