d06a.jpg (7719 bytes)Educational Institutes Honor Respironics Founder
Gerald E. McGinnis, who founded Respironics in 1976 and today serves as chairman of the board, recently received two awards for his entrepreneurial commitment and spirit.

In February, McGinnis was named Entrepreneur of the Year for 2004 by Washington & Jefferson College of Washington, Pa. Founded in 1781, the liberal arts college has honored regional business leaders for lifetime entrepreneurial achievements since 1986.

In April, McGinnis received the Entrepreneur Award from the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh as part of its Awards for Excellence 2004. The center’s Awards for Excellence recognize and celebrate individual achievement in science- and technology-related fields in southwestern Pennsylvania. The awards are intended to raise public awareness about science and its applications in people’s daily lives. The center says the awards emphasize the vital links between schools, research laboratories, business development, quality of life, and job creation in the region and society at large.

Sunrise Medical Reaches Earnings Milestone
Sunrise Medical, Longmont, Colo, recently exceeded the half billion-dollar mark in global electronic transactions for its customers in North America and Europe. The electronics tools Sunrise Medical offers for its global customers include the company’s business-to-business Web site www.sunrisemedical.com, electronic data interchange, system-to-system integration using B-Connected software, XML solutions, and a retail dealer Web site through a third-party hosting company specializing in the home medical equipment industry.

InnoMed Receives Innovation Award
The Nasal-Aire facial interface by InnoMed Technologies is expected to revolutionize CPAP therapy and drive revenues for the Greensburg, Pa-based company, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. Nasal-Aire does not require any headgear and can be worn like an oxygen canula. In the report, growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan recognized the interface with the 2004 Award for Product Innovation.

“The lack of patient comfort and compliance is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of CPAP therapy; however, Nasal-Aire offers multiple benefits to patients including the freedom to speak, sleep in any direction, and wear eyeglasses, which makes it a facial interface of choice,” says Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Dhiraj Ajmani.

Frost & Sullivan presents the product innovation award each year to the company that has demonstrated excellence in new products and technologies within its industry.

Insomnia Risks To Drive Prescription Sleep Aid Sales
By 2010, the insomnia medication market will more than double, predicts international growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan.

The company attributes this anticipated growth—from $1.65 billion in 2003 to $3.36 billion by 2010—to “increasing awareness levels coupled with new products targeting an underserved patient base.” The report says that while there are more than 50 million insomniacs in need of treatment, only about 10 million use prescription sleep aids.

“A large number of patients do not consider insomnia to be a condition that requires medical help,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Patrick Rajan. “Very often, they either use over-the-counter products containing antihistamines or seek treatment for another ailment that they think is the root cause.”

The report also forecasts expanded revenues for companies currently offering nonbenzodiazepine sleep aids and for those conducting clinical trials for nonbenzodiazepines. Because of the risk of side effects, Rajan expects sales of benzodiazepines to decline steadily from 2004 to 2010.

d04b.jpg (7664 bytes)ResMed Reports Financials
ResMed Inc’s revenues and income increased during the quarter and 9 months ended March 31, 2004, the Poway, Calif-based company announced in April.

Compared to the same quarter last year, revenue jumped 32% to $91.3 million during the March 31, 2004, quarter. For the 9 months ended March 31, 2004, revenues grew 28% to $246.4 million compared to the 9 months ended March 31, 2003.

Income from operations and net income for the March 31, 2004, quarter rose to $22.5 million and $15.0 million, respectively, an increase of 31% and 23%.
Net income for the 9 months ended March 31, 2004, was $41.4 million or $1.18 per share, compared with net income of $32.2 million or $0.94 per share for the same period in fiscal 2003. Net income increased by 29% over the prior year period.

“We continue to make progress in addressing those comorbidities where there is a high prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing, particularly in the cardiovascular space,” says Peter C. Farrell, PhD, chairman and CEO. “During the quarter, we again cosponsored, with Guidant Corp and MedCath Corp, a satellite symposium on sleep-disordered breathing and cardiac disease during the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting.”

Medcare Acquires SleepTech as Cornerstone of North American Strategy
In May, Medcare, a manufacturer of diagnostic equipment for sleep treatment centers, was expected to close a deal to acquire 100% interest in SleepTech LLC, the Kinnelon, NJ-based manager of hospital-owned sleep treatment centers and developer of Web-based diagnostic measurement and management solutions. With the new acquisition as its base, Medcare will form a North American operating company called SleepTech Solutions, which will focus on the delivery of comprehensive solutions for sleep professionals and entrepreneurs interested in entering the sleep business.

As a result of the acquisition of SleepTech, which provides turnkey management services to hospital-owned sleep centers, Medcare expects its revenues to increase to $35 million annually. Medcare’s CEO, Svanbjorn Thoroddsen, will relocate to the United States, where 70% of the company’s revenues are expected to be generated.

SleepTech shareholders will receive cash and stock worth approximately $25 million. As a group, SleepTech’s owners will become one of the largest shareholders of Medcare, the shares of which are listed for trading on the stock exchange in Reykjavik, Iceland, where Medcare is headquartered.

To be based in Kinnelon, SleepTech Solutions will comprise Medcare’s existing North American diagnostic equipment sales and customer service operations, SleepTech’s existing network of hospital sleep centers, and a platform of new SleepTech services, which are being tested in SleepTech centers.

SleepTech Solutions will be headed by Vyto Kab, who along with his wife Patricia (who will continue with the company in a leadership role), founded SleepTech. The Kabs were coauthors of a study of National Football League players that definitively linked sleep-disordered breathing and young athletes with large body masses. The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January 2003.

ResMed Launches Bariatric Surgery Initiative
Close to three quarters of Americans who undergo gastrointestinal surgery also suffer from sleep apnea, according to ResMed Corp, which recently began an initiative that will help sleep laboratories and home medical equipment (HME) providers build partnerships with bariatric programs. The initiative is aimed at increasing the awareness and recognition of sleep apnea in patients preparing for bariatric surgery, and as part of it, ResMed is encouraging sleep laboratories and HME providers to work with surgeons to screen all gastric bypass surgery candidates for sleep apnea and provide patients with appropriate care.

“The rapid, significant weight loss experienced by bariatric surgery patients suffering from sleep apnea affects their therapy pressures and mask fit over time,” says Robert W. Hart, MD, AASM, a member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) from Suburban Lung Associates in Illinois.

ResMed also is sponsoring a symposium and an exhibition booth at this year’s ASBS annual meeting in San Diego on June 16. The symposium will include a discussion of current practices for screening, diagnosing, and treating sleep apnea.

d06c.jpg (9437 bytes)Harvard Accepts Sleep Medicine Chair Endowments
With the help of three top sleep therapy companies, Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston, has created three endowed chairs in sleep medicine.

The chairs are named after the founders and chairmen of the three publicly listed sleep therapy companies: Frank Baldino, PhD, CEO of Cephalon Inc, West Chester, Pa; Gerald E. McGinnis, board chairman of Respironics, Murrysville, Pa; and Peter C. Farrell, PhD, chairman and CEO of ResMed Inc, Poway, Calif. Each chair was funded by unrestricted gifts from their companies or themselves.

Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, has been named the Frank Baldino, Jr, PhD, Professor of Sleep Medicine, which was the first of the chairs to be fully endowed, through a gift from Cephalon. Czeisler is an HMS professor of medicine appointed at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and leads the Division of Sleep Medicine.

Associate Professor David P. White, MD, will fill the Gerald E. McGinnis Professorship of Sleep Medicine, established with a grant from the Respironics Sleep and Respiratory Research Foundation. White also will serve in the Division of Sleep Medicine at HMS and as director of the Clinical Sleep Disorders Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The Peter C. Farrell Professorship of Sleep Medicine, established by a gift from Farrell has not yet been appointed, but an international recruitment is under way to bring a top researcher to HMS.

HMS reports that the endowment for the chairs when fully funded will be $2.75 million each. The school stated in a press release that it hopes this funding will “greatly expand the capacity of the division to embark on creative avenues of research that might not garner traditional federal support.”

“This generous and timely support will greatly accelerate advances in sleep and circadian rhythm research. At a time when nearly 40 million Americans suffer with sleep disorders, many find numerous barriers to diagnosis and treatment,” says Joseph B. Martin, MD, PhD, dean of HMS. “These gifts will enable HMS to take a leading role in this interdisciplinary field, ensuring the advancement of scientific research and the development of new treatments for sleep disorders.”

Medcare Names North American Sales Head
In May, Medcare, an Icelandic manufacturer of diagnostic equipment for sleep treatment centers, appointed Claude L. Buckles to North American sales manager. Buckles joins the company with more than 14 years of sales management experience with diverse medical products. Most recently, he was the North American sales manager for the Sandman Sleep Diagnostics Division of Tyco Healthcare, Pleasanton, Calif.