CSIRO partner Oventus Medical Ltd has listed on the Australian Securities Exchange raising $12 million. Oventus, who manufactures sleep apnea devices, has invested heavily in R&D with CSIRO over the past two and a half years, helping to hone their production process and grow their business.
The Brisbane-based company first approached CSIRO in 2014 when dentist Chris Hart had the idea for a mouthguard with airways that would assist airflow bypass the sleep apnea sufferer's airway obstructions including from the tongue, soft palate and nose. Dr Hart asked CSIRO if they could 3D-print the device from titanium. The result was an initial prototype which has since successfully completed clinical trials and been named the O2Vent™. In April this year, the device received FDA clearance opening up the US market for the company.
The O2Vent is a customisable mouthpiece which is 3D-printed to the precise dimensions of a patient's mouth, ensuring optimal airflow during sleep, reducing the effects of snoring and sleep apnea. Oventus Founder Dr Hart said CSIRO provided the opportunity to access new 3D-printing technologies through their Lab22 facility.
"This allowed us to explore new and innovative manufacturing techniques with a reduced investment risk. Using 3D-printing to manufacture the O2Vent sleep apnea devices offered us huge advantages over traditional manufacturing methods including speed and cost. This partnership has made us globally competitive," Dr Hart said.
Oventus is hoping O2Vent will disrupt the multi-billion dollar market for sleep apnea solutions. The global sleep disorder market is estimated to be worth $50 billion annually. The US Sleep Foundation estimates that 37 million Americans regularly suffer from snoring. An estimated one million Australians suffer from sleep apnea.
The original prototype was made in CSIRO's Lab 22 Innovation Centre in Victoria using an Arcam 3D-printer. CSIRO's Mr Stefan Gulizia said the idea of designing and 3D-printing completely customised mouthpieces seemed revolutionary at the time.
"It has been exciting helping Oventus progress this novel idea to a manufactured product and seeing the success of the company as it lists on the ASX today," Mr Gulizia said.
Lab 22 is one of Australia's leading facilities for metal additive manufacturing and has assisted in world-first medical breakthroughs including 3D printed body parts for patients in Australia and in Europe.