A medical device company hoping to move sleep apnea testing out of expensive and uncomfortable labs and into the realm of primary care has gotten a boost from at least 20 investors.
The company manufactures an at-home headset, called ARES, that uses sensors to measure oxygen saturation, pulse, head movement and head position. When that data is combined with responses to questions about a patient’s body type and lifestyle, it could give doctors an indication of the patient’s risk of sleep apnea.
The chronic condition is characterized by obstruction of the upper airway, which causes pauses in breathing during sleep. When left untreated, it’s been linked to high blood pressure, stroke and heart problems.
According to Watermark, its device has been tested in 100,000 patients since 2010.
As insurers are changing the way they reimburse for sleep apnea testing, the industry has seen a push toward at-home testing for some patients. Cleveland Medical Devices, Itamar Medical and NovaSom are among other companies developing or marketing in-home tests. Simultaneously, the market for sleep apnea treatments is growing and become increasingly competitive.
Watermark was founded in Boca Raton, Florida, in 2008. Previous investors include Ballast Point Ventures, although it’s not known whether the firm participated in the most recent funding.
[Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici]