Israeli devicemaker eyes lucrative sleep disorder market

Itamar Medical's WatchPAT home sleep test--Courtesy of Itamar Medical

As devicemakers cast an eye toward a lucrative sleep disorder market, Itamar Medical is joining the ranks and anticipating positive third-quarter results buoyed by recent sales agreements and commercialization efforts for its sleep monitoring devices.

The Caesarea, Israel-based company said it is on track to end three years of sluggish growth after signing new sales deals in the United States and Japan and boosting its cash reserves, CEO Gilad Glick told Reuters. Over the past half year, Itamar raised $16.3 million from Israel's largest institutional investors to fund research, development and commercialization for its home sleep test, WatchPAT, and inked deals with Medtronic ($MDT), a Japanese unit of Philips ($PHG), and Nihon Kohden, one of Japan's largest medical device manufacturers.

"There is a lot of strategy on our part, but also a lot of really good timing, almost on all fronts," Glick said, as quoted by Reuters.

Itamar's diagnostic devices use a fingertip sensor to track the health of nerves and blood vessels, providing a noninvasive "window" to the cardiovascular system and the autonomic nervous system, the company said on its website. Patients can wear the sleep monitor at home on the wrist with a small clamp extending to one finger, while the larger cardiovascular system, EndoPAT, must be used in a clinic, Reuters reports.

Glick declined to give a growth forecast to the news outlet, but said he expects to sign two or three new sales deals each year and build on Itamar's existing technology to produce new applications. The company is also considering a flotation on Nasdaq in the next few years, Glick told Reuters.

Itamar is not the only device company setting its sights on the $3.5 billion U.S. sleep disorder market. Companies like Inspire Medical Systems and Australia's SomnoMed Limited are rolling out innovative products that offer alternatives to traditional therapies. In May, Minneapolis-based Inspire Medical Systems raised $40 million in Series E Money to launch its nerve-stimulation implant for sleep apnea. In July, SomnoMed Limited won an FDA nod for its DentFlex devices for obstructive sleep apnea. Unlike more bulky continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems that require a face mask, the company's products are worn like a mouthguard and provide more patient comfort, SomnoMed CEO Dr. Peter Neustadt said in an earlier statement.

- read the Reuters story