Chad’s sleep percolates interest

Monday, March 31, 2003

CHATSWORTH, Calif. – Although ChadTherapeutics isn’t offering specifics regarding its recently announced intentions to enter the sleep arena, the provider community is hoping the manufacturer will match its Total O2 Delivery System in market impact.

Exactly what the Chad braintrust has in mind likely won’t be unveiled for at least a year and perhaps longer.

“Because it’s in the beginning stages, it’s hard to pinpoint a date,” said Earl Yager, CHAD’s chief operating officer.

Total O2, a stationary concentrator that lets patients fill portable oxygen units at home, has won praise from both providers and patients for its unique function and user-friendly design.

Facilitating Chad’s foray into sleep is a new product development deal with AirMatrix Technologies Inc. and Acoba, St. Louis-based engineering and technology firms that design therapeutic gas monitoring and delivery systems. According to Yager, the companies “have developed some patents and additional patents should come out” of the manufacturing process.

Although AirMatrix and Acoba are new companies, Chad CEO Tom Jones reportedly has known about them since his tenure with Nellcor Puritan Bennett. Contracting with these firms gives Chad access to “proprietary sensor technologies and innovative control software” that can be applied to Chad’s conserver and concentrator lines in addition to blazing a trail into the sleep market, Jones said in a published statement.

Despite being mum about the type of sleep product in the works, Yager promises that it will be something the industry hasn’t seen before.

“Anybody familiar with Chad knows we don’t do ‘me-too’ products,” he said. “We will offer a technology that is different from what is currently available on the market. I can’t say anything more than that.”

Yet the information Chad has disclosed is more than enough to pique provider interest.

“I’m dying to find out what they’ve got planned,” said Alan Kirk, vice president of Elgin, Ill.-based Total Respiratory Services and Medical Equipment. “They are a groundbreaking company.”

In contemplating the type of product Chad might introduce, Kirk wondered whether it would have a therapeutic or diagnostic function.

“Titration would be a great place for them to focus,” he said. “It’s one area where we’ve been weak.”

Bob Fary, corporate director of respiratory for Lake Forest, Calif.-based Apria, says he’s not surprised to see CHAD enter the sleep sector.

“It’s a huge market and opportunities are everywhere,” he said. “Chad is a leader in conserving devices, so with their history, they should be able to produce something innovative relative to sleep.” HME