AirSep lowers boom

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

ORLANDO - AirSep has cut the weight of the oxygen concentrator to 4.5 pounds with its new FreeStyle.

“In 2002 we launched the LifeStyle at nine pounds, but now five, six and seven pound concentrators are considered state of the art, so we saw an opportunity,” Joe Priest, AirSep’s president and COO, said at Medtrade in October.

The FreeStyle Portable Oxygen Concentrator, at half the size of AirSep’s LifeStyle, doubles the internal battery life of its counterpart to two hours. It also includes a lightweight battery belt that provides six additional hours of power.

Other features include one to three pulse settings and a flow rate of 1-3 liters per minute.

“Barring a pharmaceutical breakthrough, we consider this the final solution for patients who need oxygen and want ambulation,” said Priest.

According to Priest, innovations like the FreeStyle will continue to strengthen the portable market, and he expects these units to dominate 80% of the ambulatory oxygen market over the next three to five years.

“We believe that portable concentrators will do for ambulation what concentrators did for in-home oxygen,” said Priest. “I think other products will have a temporary impact but will become niche products in the long term.”

The FreeStyle is slated to be released in 2005, continuing what could be a banner year for the company. The company is also awaiting an FAA ruling that could allow oxygen patients to bring their portable units on commercial airline flights.