Vapotherm's high-flow oxygen shows gains in childhood acute asthma study

Children, as well as their parents, may one day be able to breathe a little easier: The respiratory therapy company Vapotherm said a pilot study of its high-flow treatment showed it could outperform standard hospital oxygen among young patients suffering from severe asthma attacks. 

The New Hampshire-based medtech developer presented a randomized, controlled trial that examined the feasibility of its high-velocity, humidified oxygen therapy—which uses a specially designed, small-bore nasal cannula to offer respiratory support to patients that can still breathe on their own, but without forcing them to wear an oxygen mask.

Children who were brought to an emergency room with acute asthma symptoms—and who did not respond to initial drug treatments and inhalers—were randomized between standard oxygen and Vapotherm’s high-velocity approach. 

Fewer patients in the Vapotherm group needed to escalate to additional therapies, at 61% versus 86% with traditional care. That group also saw patients discharged from the hospital sooner, with a median time of 29 hours compared to 37 hours.

Vapotherm’s therapy relies in part on using a high flow to flush out the dead spaces of stale air within the nasal passages. According to the company, this helps fast-breathing patients clear out the carbon dioxide remaining in their upper airway, and allows them to take in more oxygen with each breath while using less effort.

Conducted in the U.K., the study’s results were published at the International Congress of the European Respiratory Society in Milan, Italy.

Vapotherm estimates about 5 million children in the U.S. and 1 million in the U.K. have asthma. Conducting clinical studies of rapid interventions such as this has been difficult, due in part to the need to collect informed consent before beginning therapy. According to the company, its protocol also showed it was feasible to examine pediatric emergency situations using coordinated care and delayed informed consent procedures.

The company’s most recent quarterly earnings release, spanning the months of May, June and July, detailed revenues of $16.0 million for a 23.6% gain over the same period in 2023—driven by increased sales of its high-velocity systems and a bounce in consumables related to post-COVID returns of customer demand.

Operating expenses totaled $17.0 million, down from the prior year’s $25.2 million; however additional “non-GAAP cash operating expenses” amounted to another $14.2 million. All told, the company reported a second-quarter net loss of $14.8 million.

Vapotherm said it expects its full-year 2023 revenue to land between $70 million and $73 million, with operating expenses reaching about the same, with non-GAAP costs adding on about $56 million.