Itamar buys Spry to add wearable to its sleep apnoea detectors

Israeli company Itamar Medical has agreed to acquire Spry Health, aiming to use the US company’s wearable technology to develop a watch-like remote monitor for sleep apnoea, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Itamar already markets a sensing device called WatchPAT that attaches to the finger during sleep, measuring vital signs like heart and breathing rate, oxygen levels in the blood, and changes the volume of blood pumped during a heartbeat – known as peripheral arterial tone (PAT).

That is only suitable for a single night’s measurement, however, and Itamar hopes that by adding Spry’s wearable technology it will be able to develop a device that would be suitable for continuous monitoring of sleep apnoea over weeks or even months.

That could provide a clearer picture of the seriousness of the condition, and the accumulated burden of sleep apnoea on a patient’s heart and vascular system.

Sleep apnoea is caused when relaxation of the muscles in the throat cause the airway to narrow, reducing the amount of air taken in and out with each breath. Sometimes the airway can be shut off completely, and if that lasts for 10 seconds or more it is classed as obstructive sleep apnoea.

In severe cases, apnoea episodes can occur hundreds of times a night, each causing a brief period of wakefulness or shallower sleep.

Symptoms are snoring and feeling sleepy during the daytime, but the underlying effects can be damaging and can lead to other health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The condition affects around 54 million people in the US alone.

Spry’s Loop System wearable has already been approved by the FDA for the collection of physiological data like oxygen levels, respiration and heart rate in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic health conditions.

It does so by emitting electromagnetic waves through the skin. It then measures the reflection of light frequencies to define the concentration of specific molecules in the blood.

Repurposing for sleep apnoea should be fairly swift – Itamar reckons it could have approval for the apnoea indication in 2022. There are other advantages as well, including the fact that the device already has the necessary codes for reimbursement in the US healthcare system.

Itamar’s chief executive Gilad Glick said the Loop System is a “perfect fit” with its aim of developing a continuous wearable monitor for sleep apnoea.

“While finger-based monitoring yields the highest accuracy, it is currently not suitable for longer-term wear,” he added. “A device that is designed for the wrist, while potentially less accurate for precise disease diagnostics, is more suitable for monitoring the continuous accumulated burden of sleep apnoea and its potential impact on other diseases.”

The technology also gives Itamar an opportunity to extend its focus into other diseases areas like COPD, addressing a larger slice of the remote patient monitoring (RPM) market that is predicted to reach a value of $2 billion worldwide in 2027.

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On-skin printing of sensors could monitor COVID-19 symptoms

Scientists say on-skin printing could be used to create on-body sensors to monitor physiological signals and devices to wirelessly transmit the data.

A team led by Huanyu Cheng from Penn State University, say the sensors are capable of precisely and continuously capturing temperature, humidity, blood oxygen levels and heart performance signals. The next stage on the project is to target specific application, for example to develop a sensor network that could monitor symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Crucially, the technique to print the circuits onto skin can be carried out at room temperature, as earlier efforts have been hampered by the need to use heated materials, or printing onto a carrier layer before attaching them to the body.

Writing in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Cheng and colleagues say they have developed a “universal fabrication scheme” for on-body printing that makes use of a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) paste and additives to reduce the temperature needed by the printing process.

Known as sintering, this type of printing typically requires temperatures of around 300 degrees centigrade to bind the silver particles used to form the circuits together.

By adding “nanoadditives” to the mix the scientists reduced that temperature to about 100 C, which allowed printing of circuits on clothing and paper but was still way too hot for use on skin.

Using PVA as a carrier layer along with calcium carbonate and changing the printing material was the key to enabling room temperature sintering, according to Cheng.

The PVA reduces printing surface roughness and allows for an ultrathin layer of metal patterns that can bend and fold while maintaining electromechanical capabilities. When the sensor is printed, the researchers can use a simple cool air blower to remove the water that is used as a solvent in the ink.

Once applied the sensors will resist immersion in tepid water for a few days, allowing washing, but can be removed easily with a hot shower.

“It could be recycled, since removal doesn’t damage the device,” Cheng said. “And, importantly, removal doesn’t damage the skin, either. That’s especially important for people with sensitive skin, like the elderly and babies.”

He added: “The device can be useful without being an extra burden to the person using it or to the environment.”

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Featured speakers for 2nd annual Wearable Injectors and Connected Devices Conference

SMi Reports: Featured Speakers listed for SMi Group’s 2nd annual Wearable Injectors and Connected Devices Conference taking place in October.

The global wearable devices market size is expected to reach a value of $62.82 billion USD by 2025 with time dependent delivery, improved patient experience and adherence and large volume administration with minimal injection pain and being key factors driving the market.

With that in mind, SMi is proud to present Europe’s only Wearable Injectors Conference, taking place on the 7th-8th of October 2020, in London.

Interested parties can learn more and register at:

Key speakers for this year’s conference include:                             

  • Julia Frese, Director, TÜV SÜD Japan ltd.
  • Digby Harris, Global Category Manager  – Medical Device development, AstraZeneca
  • Barbara Stollfuss, Team Lead Data Generation, Bayer Vital GMBH
  • Phil Tregunno, group Manager, MHRA
  • Blake Green, Senior Manager Regulatory Affairs, CMC Medical Devices, Amgen
  • Germano Meier, Project Leader, Device & Digital Solutions, Novartis
  • Solange Corriol-Rohou, Director, AstraZeneca
  • Cedric Gysel, Manager,  Healthcare Solutions Design, Johnson & Johnson
  • Megan Heft, Senior Device Engineer, AstraZeneca

2020 presentations Snapshot:

  • ‘Considerations for early technology evaluation and selection of large-volume, on-body injectors’ 
  • Megan Heft, Senior Device Engineer, AstraZeneca
  • ‘Application of wearable sensors to measure clinical benefitsGermano Meier, Project Leader, Device & Digital Solutions, Novartis
  • in OA patients’
  • ‘Design strategy for connected solutions: Driving better user experience’
  • Cedric Gysel, Manager,  Healthcare Solutions Design, Johnson & Johnson
  • ‘Enhancing patient administration experience for LVIs’
  • Blake Green, Senior Manager Regulatory Affairs, CMC Medical Devices, Amgen

Wearable Injectors and Connected Devices Conference will enable delegates to:

  • Explore the growing potential of connectivity and digital health to improve patient experience and treatment
  • Understand the key regulatory considerations in industry with representation from regulatory and notified bodies
  • Assess advances in device design and development for large volume delivery via on-body injectors
  • Gain insights into the use of wearable injectors and devices in clinical trials

To learn more about the conference and view the full agenda please visit:

Wearable Injectors and Connected Devices

7th – 8th October 2020

London, UK

Proudly sponsored by: Quantex-arc


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About SMi Group:

Established since 1993, the SMi Group is a global event-production company that specializes in Business-to-Business Conferences, Workshops, Masterclasses and online Communities. We create and deliver events in the Defence, Security, Energy, Utilities, Finance and Pharmaceutical industries. We pride ourselves on having access to the world’s most forward-thinking opinion leaders and visionaries, allowing us to bring our communities together to Learn, Engage, Share and Network. More information can be found at

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