Clarence Johnson knows the strengths of his company, but he pays just as much attention to the areas where opportunity may still be knocking.
From its headquarters in the land of ten thousand lakes, Somnetics International Inc has quietly built a following among sleep physicians, sleep lab directors, and DME providers looking for something different. The Minneapolis-based privately-held medical device company makes what company engineers call the smallest and lightest CPAP and battery system in the world.
The differentiator for the Transcend Sleep Apnea Therapy System remains its diminutive size that translates to a unique suitability for travel and home use. Options include the lightweight, long-life P4 Overnight Battery System™ and the P8 Multi-Night Battery System™ to provide reliable power in remote locations and during power outages. A Waterless Humidifi cation™ system harnesses innovative proprietary heat moisture exchange (HME) technology that eliminates the hassles of traditional heated humidifiers.
Somnetics founder Clarence Johnson is proud of the progress his company has made in a relatively short period of time. Johnson recently shared his thoughts with Sleep Diagnosis & Therapy (SDT) during a hot summer that has yielded equally hot sales for the Transcend, Somnetics’ signature CPAP unit.
How would you Characterize Sales so Far in 2013?
Excellent. Every quarter is a new record. We’re on an excellent trajectory, and we’re on budget for the year. I don’t know what more you could ask for than that.
We have launched more devices outside the U.S. and are waiting for the FDA to clear the devices for U.S. sales. So we are making excellent strides.
What is the Product Waiting for Clearance?
A heated humidifi er and an auto PAP device (2:01?)
Is the Core Technology any Different from the Familiar Transcend?
No. It’s exactly the same platform. Small, light, portable, and fully featured.
How does the Transcend Apply to the Trucking Industry?
Truckers often have a home sleep test done, and then they are given an auto PAP device so that they don’t have to be tested a second night for titration. Our current device is a fi xed pressure CPAP, so from a CPAP application perspective, it’s not as attractive to the physicians that place devices on truck drivers as an auto PAP would be.
Considering the design of the device, and the type of device—our device is attractive to the occupational market because it’s very small and it’s battery powered, so truck drivers don’t have to drain their batteries. They don’t have to worry about running their trucks overnight, they don’t have to do all the things that they currently have to do.
Plus, if truck drivers really need to have humidifi cation, they can use our waterless humidifi cation option. We have solar chargers if they want to use that to recharge their batteries, although they don’t have to when they are driving their truck. They can simply use their power adapter that they can plug into under their trucks, so they can recharge the battery when they are driving.
It’s very convenient and small, so they can just play it on their bunk next to them. They don’t have to have all kinds of wires and what not. From a product concept perspective, they like it.
What’s on your Wish List as Far as Additional Product Features?
Our current device does not an auto titration feature, and it does not have remote wireless monitoring. But our new devices will have both,and we believe they will be very favorably viewed by the whole occupational industry.
When you say Occupational Industry, what do you Mean?
Pilots, train engineers, conductors, taxi drivers, truckers—any occupation where safety is signi cant. Taxi drivers, for example, will sleep in their cabs for a couple hours, and then keep driving. And if they need CPAP therapy, they just plug ours in and it’s very convenient—and they take a little nap and get back on the road.
How do you Expect the Rest of the Year to Play Out?
We believe that for the year we will show highly signi cant growth over last year, and it will continue to rise throughout the year. The summer quarter tends to be a slow quarter because Europeans are on vacation, and a lot of Americans are on vacation. So sales do drop off industry wide during the summer months, but we do foresee our year-on-year performance will be highly signi cant over last year.
Do you still have the Smallest CPAP on the Market?
We do. It is the smallest.
How Realistic is it for Providers to go After the Non-Medicare Market for CPAP?
DMEs and self-dispensing sleep labs are making a mistake if they don’t go after a retail market for CPAP. There are any number of Internet providers right now in the U.S., including a lot of DMEs who have started e-commerce Web sites. But there are any number of Internet providers that are already capturing north of 10 percent of the CPAP market. What DMEs don’t seem to realize is that every patient who goes to the Internet to buy a CPAP is their patient, and they should ght to keep that patient. And I also believe that with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, and the direction that our country is going elative to health care in general, more and more patients are going to be faced to pay more for their health care—which means that patients will become more comfortable with writing checks for devices and services.Sleep labs and DMEs absolutely should very seriously consider how they can ramp a retail business for CPAP, CPAP accessories, and CPAP replenishment supplies. Whether they’re reimbursed or not, there should be a more robust cash business in CPAP.
At a Glance
- Transcend’s universal AC power supply automatically converts the power current for international use.
- Transcend and its accessories and parts are available at medical equipment dealers.
- Transcend is competitively priced with other CPAP devices on the market.
- The system comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- The Transcend Sleep Apnea Therapy Starter System is compatible with any CPAP mask via the Universal Hose Adaptor and standard 6-foot hose.
- The Transcend H6B Waterless Humidi cation System comes with a proprietary interface that can be tted with adaptors that are compatible with the most commonly used nasal seals.
- Automatically compensates therapy pressure to altitudes of up to 8,000 feet.
- Mobile power adaptor plugs into the DC power outlet in a car, truck, RV, boat, camper or mode of transportation
with power. Mobile power adaptor can recharge the Transcend battery pack.
- P4 battery system provides suf cient power to operate the device for 7 to 9 hours at a pressure setting of 14 cm
H2O. The P8 battery system provides power for 14 to 16 hours of use at the same setting. Both the P4 and P8 batteries are designed to accommodate more than 250 discharge/recharge cycles with standard use.
- Transcend uses patented heat moisture exchange (HME) technology to provide humidi cation during therapy.
- The Transcend Bedside Docking Station™ provides astable platform for bedside use of the device.
- Because of its small size, Transcend can be placed securely on the bed, on a pillow, in the bed stand drawer, or on the oor – wherever it’s most convenient.
- Air bearing blower technology makes Transcend quiet and vibration-free.