Battle of the POCs

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SAN DIEGO – For the past few years, SeQual Technologies has had the market for continuous-flow portable oxygen concentrators cornered, but as fast as you can say POC that monopoly has vanished.

Earlier this year, DeVilbiss launched the iGo; Invacare will begin selling its new Solo2 this month; and many industry watchers expect Respironics to unveil a continuous flow POC very soon.

“I think what you are seeing is that both DeVilbiss and us recognize that there is a market out there that SeQual has owned, and we want to try to get in on it,” said Chris LaPorte, Invacare’s product manager for portable oxygen concentrators.

SeQual’s Eclipse, which debuted in 2006, weighs 17 pounds. The Solo2 and iGo both tip the scales at about 19 pounds. All three units provide continuous flow oxygen from 1 to 3 LPM. The Eclipse and iGo have pulse dose setting of 1 to 6 LPM. The Solo2 has pulse dose settings of 1 to 5 LPM.

“This whole sector is accelerating in terms of people embracing it,” said SeQual CEO Ron Richard. “There is going to be far more competition. It’s good for the market, the patient and the industry.”

With the Solo2, Invacare now has a full suite of concentrators: stationary, pulse dose portable (XP02) and its flagship HomeFill transfilling unit.

While recognizing there will be some overlap, here’s how LaPorte sees each unit’s primary use:

— Transfilling concentrator: For patients who don’t typically travel by plane but still need ambulatory oxygen.

— Continuous flow: For the ambulatory patient a doctor believes requires continuous flow.

— Stationary concentrator: For homebound patients and for those who only need nocturnal oxygen.

— Pulse dose POC: For patients who travel frequently by plane and want a unit that weight less than 10 pounds.