Aeiomed touts new Aura ultra-lightweight CPAP

Monday, January 31, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS - A brand new company with some old industry hands is coming to market with a 1.5- to 1.75-pound CPAP that includes heated humidification in its 5-inch by 5-inch footprint.

But neither its diminutive size or its competitive price point is the main selling feature of the Aura, manufactured by Aeiomed.

“We consider the interface to be the strongest,” said Bob Rice, vice president of sales and marketing at the new company. “It totally stabilizes the nasal interface without touching anything on the face except where we present the interface to the nares.”

He described the interface as a cross between a nasal pillow and a nasal cannula.

Rice worked as an independent rep for 15 years and sold Respironics for 10 years. Aeiomed’s CEO, Steve Bordewick, is a design engineer whom Rice credited with design of Puritan Bennett’s Breeze.

Aeiomed’s Aura joins Puritan Bennett’s 1.54 GoodKnight 420 as the smallest CPAP on the market. Since they began marketing the GoodKnight in 2003, PB’s Raj Roychoudhury said the demand for the unique product has been rising.

“It’s been significant,” said Roychoudhury, “and right on line with our expectatations.”

Although some suppliers say the demand curve for ultra lightweight CPAPs is not that strong, they also say that’s changing.

“Some people are getting one for home, and a second one to travel,” said Sandy Fermoile, owner of Buffalo, N.Y.-based Apnea Care, Inc.

The Aura will also be the first CPAP in the industry to offer a battery option that’ll enable 10-12 hours of operation at the full range of pressure, said Rice.

Aeiomed planned to submit an application for a 510(k) marketing clearance on the Aura’s CPAP box late last year. The company obtained a 510(k) on the interface in four weeks, said Rice.

Aeiomed declined to talk about pricing, but industry chatter says the Aura will be priced as a typical standard CPAP rate, not a premium product.