Signifier Raises eXcite Tongue Stimulator for Sleep Apnea with $35M Series D

Forget counting sheep – Signifier Medical Technologies now has about 35 million other things to count to build devices that improve sleep-disordered breathing.

The London-based company recently completed its Series D funding round, which raised $35 million from lead investors Segulah Medical Acceleration, Angelus Venture Fund I, Pioneer Healthcare Partners and Alan Howard, co-founder of European hedge fund platform Brevan Howard Asset Management , earned .

Shortly after Signifier’s flagship received FDA approval to treat mild cases of sleep apnea and excessive snoring, the funding will be used primarily to support the commercialization of the eXciteOSA system.

Signifier will also fund further studies of the device to strengthen evidence of its treatment capabilities and will further develop eXciteOSA’s companion digital management platforms for both patients and physicians.

“We are very excited about the prospects for eXciteOSA as a revolutionary day-time therapy for the treatment of OSA. With an estimated 25% of the world’s adult population suffering from sleep disordered breathing, we believe eXciteOSA will become the first-line therapy for these patients,” said Roger Gunnarsson, Managing Partner at Segulah Medical Acceleration.

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The eXciteOSA system is based on a wearable device that is placed on the tongue for 20-minute sessions throughout the day. It emits weak electrical impulses via four electrodes to stimulate and strengthen the tongue and throat muscles.

Building strength in these areas, in turn, lowers the risk of the tongue muscles fully relaxing and collapsing at night. Collapsed tongue muscles can block the airway and contribute to sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea and excessive snoring, which are linked to a number of other serious conditions, from high blood and diabetes to stroke and depression.

Signifier’s system offers a less invasive and easier-to-use alternative to CPAP machines that require you to wear a bulky mask all night while a loud motor pumps oxygen into your nose and mouth to keep the airway open.

Users can track and control their use of the device with a connected smartphone app. The data collected by the app is monitored remotely by each patient’s care team via a doctor-specific digital portal.

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studies have shown that eXciteOSA, with consistent use for at least six weeks, reduced snoring time in 90% of patients, with 80% reporting that their snoring time had decreased by at least 50%. Almost 80% of study participants with sleep apnea found their symptoms decreased with use of the device.

Additionally, Signifier’s studies indicate that the system integrates well into users’ daily lives, with more than 80% of users in trials and in practice adhering to a regular therapy schedule with the device compared to an estimated adherence rate of around 30% to 60% for CPAP users.

“The therapy has proven transformative in terms of its efficacy and impact on patients’ health and quality of life. Given the current challenges in the sleep market, there could not be a better time for a viable, effective, and easily accessible alternative to CPAP for patients with mild OSA,” said Asim Roy, pulmonologist and medical director of the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute.

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