CPAP's Future in an iPod World

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Metis Laboratories announces the PapWear(TM) system, a paradigm shift away from the current sleep apnea systems marketed by Respironics (PHG), ResMed (RMD), Fisher Paykel Healthcare (FPH), et al.

Metis Laboratories announces the PapWear(TM) system, a paradigm shift away from the current sleep apnea systems marketed by Respironics (PHG), ResMed (RMD), Fisher Paykel Healthcare (FPH), et al.

PapWear is the first-ever featherweight Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine integrated into clothing. This breakthrough Patent Pending CPAP system is housed in the patient's choice of designer T-shirts, nightshirts or PJ tops. The total weight of the machine - and Metis's unique mask, tubing and headgear system - is just 9-13 ounces. Current systems, with mask, hoses and stationary machines, typically weigh between three and five pounds.

"PapWear is CPAP for an iPod world; the current state of the industry is still about making boom boxes," said Don Harrison, lead researcher for Metis.

"PapWear is all about humanizing the CPAP experience," said Harrison. "Instead of a bulky, one-size-fits-all hose and machine system, we have created a series of wearable interconnected pods, coupled them with our tube management system, and encased them in temperature-control material."

Each pod in the PapWear system is designed to deliver a predetermined amount of air pressure and to work in concert with the other pods. All are directed by a wireless, adjustable remote control unit built into a wrist band or PJ sleeve.

PapWear's control pod can also connect directly to the Internet for easy updates and patient monitoring.

Unlike the awkward CPAP systems now on the market, Metis Lab's featherweight PapWear System was designed as clothing. It was created to move with the wearer.

Initially, Metis Laboratories focused solely on the challenges of developing a lightweight, ergonomically-correct CPAP mask system. The outcome of that research (covered by issued Metis Patents and Patents Pending) was a series of full-face masks with headgear and connectors that weighed just 1.5 ounces; its nasal pillows weighed less than one-tenth of an ounce and nasal mask systems exactly one ounce.

"Our masks were too light for the existing CPAP hoses and machines," Harrison said. "Metis's ultra light masks could not function correctly with current bulky hose and machine combinations. Metis Laboratories testing proved that current CPAP systems use of a 22mm hose was 'the tail wagging the dog'. Its ungainly size and length, coupled with its connection to a fix-place machine, required over-engineered masks to compensate for the shortfalls of the air delivery system."

PapWear solves that problem. It is the result of three years worth of research and evolution. Initially, PapWear will come in modular configurations for prescribed treatment therapies from 4cm to 12cm. The number of components in the PapWear system is based on the prescribed pressure in the 4-12cm range. The weight of the entire system - just 9 to 13 ounces - is spread over a substantial area of the T-shirt, nightshirt or PJ top.

This featherweight system should lead to a spike in compliance rates. Research shows that the existing heavy, cumbersome combination is largely responsible for current compliance rates of far less than 50 percent.

"No CPAP system in the world is going to help patients if the patients find it too awful to wear," said Harrison.

Metis Laboratories is all about wearability, i.e. compliance. That's why the company has followed users' opinions in chat rooms such as CPAPTALK, and combined those comments and insights with data from its own focus group testing, to improve users' experience.

"On CPAPTALK and the other chat sites, you see endless unhappy comments from people who've had to become "hose heads," said Harrison. "They spend a lot of time giving each other advice about how to jury-rig their CPAP systems and "lab rat" current equipment with pantyhose and so forth just to make the products work the way they'd like. Unfortunately, the majority of users simply give up on their treatment.

"In virtually every other industry 'mass customization' is the norm but in the CPAP world, companies have four or five mask sizes and a machine. That's it. That's the choice range for a treatment people are supposed to use for the rest of their lives," Harrison said.

"Take a company like the shoe maker New Balance. They're about the same size as some current CPAP market leaders but they support multiple R&D centers staffed by leading scientists in the world for biomechanics and other disciplines. New Balance funds numerous independent research efforts and still manages to carry more than 60 different sizes of footwear in a seemingly endless array of colors and configurations. They maintain thousands of different retail skus and back their products with a marketing budget in over 120 countries.    

"Why should CPAP consumers have to choose from just four or five masks sizes (which supposedly fit every adult on earth) and use an elephant-trunk-like hose hooked up to a machine that sits on a bed stand?"

Metis Laboratories' PapWear allows users to choose from an array of options. For example: Full-face masks will initially come in 14 different sizes and a wide range of colors. The masks also can be personalized with licensed insignia such as college or pro team logos, seasonal themes, etc.

"We believe the current CPAP experience will become a thing of the past," said Harrison. "Just as Boom Box technology made way for the iPod, existing CPAP systems will soon make way for PapWear."

About Metis Laboratories:
Metis Laboratories is a 5 year old R&D company engaged in new product development. It holds numerous Patents and Patents Pending. Metis principles were major contributors to the development of a Popular Science magazine "Best New Product" and their work is part of the Smithsonian's Man & Nature exhibit. For 10 years, Metis Lab researchers held exclusive new product development arrangements with General Electric. They have developed new products for Dell, Reebok, Speedo, Ralph Lauren, and other major firms. Metis principles have sold previous R&D companies to NYSE listed firms.

Amy Manhart
Media Relations
Metis Laboratories
amy.manhart (at) metislaboratories (dot) com

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