Belgium-Israeli medical device company Nyxoah, which is developing a sleep apnea treatment product, has raised €8 million in its Series A round, according to “Globes” sources. Prior to the current investment round, Nyxoah had raised €10.2 million from private investors and government incentives in Belgium, where the company is headquartered. 85% of the company’s workers are employed in Israel. Nyxoah’s co-founder and largest investor is Robert Taub, who founded and funded Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, which developed a biological adhesive, and was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2008 for $438 million. Taub, who lives in Belgium but is very active in biomed in Israel, has also invested in Neuroderm and Lifebond.
Nyxoah’s investor list includes Uwe Wascher, a former senior GE executive, and Jürgen Hambrecht, who served until recently as CEO of BASF. The existing investors and additional private investors participated in the current financing round. The company intends to increase the current round of financing to €23 million in its next financing round.
Nyxoah, which was co-founded by CEO Dr. Adi Mashiach, has developed a tiny chip that is implanted in the chin and uses electrical stimulation to ensure that airways remain unblocked for people who suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when, while sleeping, the tongue falls into the back of the mouth and blocks airflow within the mouth. This causes an obstruction, and partial awakening 15-30 times an hour, in patients whose condition is considered moderate. The result is fatigue, cognitive disturbance, and depression caused by lack of sleep. In addition, because the body responds to the obstruction with stress, with time, blood pressure rises, as well as risk of heart disease.
The most common treatment today is a mask called CPAP that forces air into the nose - a miniature respirator of sorts. But the masks are uncomfortable - 10% of patients refuse to use them, and another 50% eventually stop using them.
Nyxoah’s product is an improvement over these products. It is a tiny chip that is implanted in the chin. It has no battery, or any other energy source. It receives power from a sticker that is applied externally, only at night. The implant transmits a focused electrical current, which stimulates specific nerves, and prevents the tongue from blocking the airway. The current investment round is to finance a multi-center clinical trial in Europe.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 21, 2014
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