Respironics jumps into portable 02 concentrator market

Sunday, May 14, 2006

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. - Respironics has significantly increased its presence in the growing and increasingly competitive portable oxygen market by acquiring OxyTec Medical, the developer of a 9.5-pound portable oxygen concentrator.

Respironics announced the acquisition last week.

Respironics acquired OxyTec Medical for its recently developed portable oxygen concentrator (POC), the OxyTec 900. The unit can operate for as long as eight hours before the patient must recharge its internal batteries or connect to a conventional power source. Respironics will introduce the OxyTec 900 to the U.S. market this year, with international markets to follow.

The acquisition supports Respironicsi home respiratory care strategy of providing treatment solutions to the growing number of ambulatory oxygen patients who rely on long-term oxygen therapy. While an acknowledged leader in products for sleep disordered breathing, Respironicsi suite of oxygen products, by comparision, is modest. It includes concentrators, conserving devices and oximeters.

As payers ratchet down reimbursement for home oxygen therapy, HME manufacturers have increasingly developed technology that allows providers to reduce deliveries and costs. POCs and transfilling concentrators also promise increased freedom for ambulatory patients, no longer requiring them to wait around for oxygen deliveries.

OxyTec formed in Anaheim Hills, Calif., in 2004. The organization is comprised of industry veterans such as Charlie Atlas, who worked in the respiratory and anesthesia arena for 22 years, and engineers Pete Bliss and Scott Halperin.

According to Respironics, OxyTecis operating time is greater than that of similar devices operating at typical patient settings. Additionally, the 900 milliliter per minute oxygen output is exceptional among POCs weighing less than 10 pounds and is intended to serve as an alternative to traditional portable oxygen tanks and liquid reservoirs, Respironics stated.

Other features include an intuitive touch-screen display, six oxygen delivery settings and a two-year warranty.

Players in the POC market include Inogen, AirSep and Sequal. There are rumblings that other companies may soon join the mix.