OIL AND GAS

FOOD AND FIBRE

ENVIRONMENT

Health

 

HEALTH

RESEARCH AND
POST-SECONDARY
PROGRAMS

TECHNOLOGY
COMMERCIALIZATION
SERVICES AND FUNDING

OUR TEAMS

PARTNERSHIPS


 

 

 

 

 

Business Support

Tech Futures offers a suite of funding programs designed to help accelerate the growth and success of Alberta-based SMEs.

albertatechfutures.ca/industryfunding

Client

Zephyr Sleep Technologies

 

Opportunity

We all know the importance of getting a good sleep—for our health, as well as for our mood. In industrialized countries, up to 30% of the population is affected by sleep apnea. Characterized by a periodic interruption of breathing during sleep, sleep apnea is the most frequent non-infectious and chronic disease in industrialized societies. Because of the resulting fatigue and drowsiness, patients have an increased risk for accidents, and are more likely to suffer from depression, hypertension, weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

The standard treatment for sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). While they sleep, patients wear a mask that provides them with air and allows them to breathe. Although the therapy is effective, many patients find it uncomfortable and therefore abandon treatment.

An alternative option is Oral Appliance Therapy, which requires patients to place a small plastic device in their mouth during sleep. The device keeps the airway open, allowing patients to breathe through the night. While the compliance rate for this treatment is high, the device doesn’t work for everyone.

No effective method has been available to identify patients who would respond well to Oral Appliance Therapy, until Dr. John Remmers created the MATRx™ system. To develop the new product and service, Dr. Remmers, a renowned expert in the field of sleep apnea and one of the early developers of the CPAP technology, together with Paul Cataford, founded Zephyr Sleep Technologies (Zephyr) in Calgary.

 

Technology

MATRx™ is a unique oral titration system that studies patients while they sleep. The device moves the patient’s jaw, adjusting its movements to optimize breathing. With this new approach, it becomes possible to identify, in advance, whether or not Oral Appliance Therapy will work, and how the device needs to be configured to achieve the best results.

Currently, the MATRx™ system requires an overnight study in a sleep clinic, and is remotely operated by a sleep technician. Considering the costs associated with sleep centre testing, Zephyr has identified the need to develop a complementary system to be used in patients’ homes.

With financial assistance of $100,000 from Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (Tech Futures), Zephyr obtained the support needed to continue the development of the home-based system technology.

 

Status

Zephyr has been selling the MATRx™ system in the United States since 2012 and expects to receive approval to sell the device in Canada by the end of 2013, after which the company plans to distribute it globally. The home-based system is still in the development and testing phase.

At various stages in its development, Zephyr received financial and business development support from Tech Futures through programs such as the Innovation Vouchers and Industry Commercialization Associates. Other members of the Alberta Innovation system assisted the company, including Innovate Calgary and BioAlberta. The National Research Council also supported Zephyr.

This story is also available as a downloadable PDF.

To see more stories and videos, visit our Success Stories Map.

 

Put our expertise to work for you

 

 

Related Links

Alex Tayler    Zephyr Sleep Technologies

Coordinator, Health Technology Programs

   More about Tech Futures' Industry Funding programs
403-210-5312    
alex.tayler@albertainnovates.ca