Having trouble with snoring? Rhinomed has developed the Mute snoring treatment which may help.

RhinoMed is a Melbourne-based company that has developed the Mute snoring device, an internal nasal dilator, to treat snoring. RhinoMed also has a number of other new products in development such as a nasal EPAP device to treat snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Dr David Cunnington, sleep physician, talks with Michael Johnson, RhinoMed CEO about their Mute snoring device and their other products in development.

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David Cunnington: I’m here with Michael Johnson, the CEO of RhinoMed and they’re a Melbourne-based technology company and RhinoMed has got some new products that you may have see in the pharmacy. So Mute is a snoring product and Michael is going to talk to me a bit about the Mute device. So Michael, what’s the Mute device?

Michael Johnson: OK, David. Well, the Mute device is a nasal stent. So it goes in the nose. Unlike the things that go over the nose, this goes in the nose and simply dilates the nose out. In a clinical trial we did at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear a couple of years ago showed we can improve airflow by about 38 percent on average when you stent the nose internally, which is good.

What we’ve done is basically created a device that sits in the nose very comfortably. It uses the – if you like, the septum to basically settle on the side but not actually dilate off. As a result, what we know we can do is have it sitting comfortably in the nose, dilate the nose out and the Mute which is our first – so I suppose medical technology product is actually designed to reduce snoring.

So we did a usage trial last year, 118 couples, five-day in-home user trial. So it was 35 percent reduction. Snoring – and importantly from a sleep perspective, we also saw that by stenting the nose, improving respiration, we can actually improve the user’s sleep quality as well according to them.

David Cunnington: So where does this technology come from? Do you have a background in other areas of things in the nose?

Michael Johnson: Yeah. So we’re – our whole focus is on the nose of course and the anatomy of the nose and how we can use that as a platform. So the first product which is actually this one, which is called the “Turbine,” which we released at the start of 2014 is actually designed for athletes to help anybody doing aerobic exercise to breathe better through the nose.

So if you’ve got a deviated septum, broken nose, congenital issues, just chronic congestion, this is designed to stent the nose and help people in breathing. We’re very lucky in the sense that the first year we launched it, we got a guy called Chris Froome.

David Cunnington: I’ve heard of him.

Michael Johnson: Yeah, well-known cyclist. He started using it in the Vuelta España and then he actually gave us a lot of feedback on it and we used that feedback to redesign the product and in this year, we launched this one which is version – actually version three of the product and this is what he wore when he won the Tour de France this year, which is fantastic.

Pleasingly, we’ve also got a New Zealand rider who’s the new time trial world champion and we actually had some guys in Canada set a world speed record, 136 kilometres an hour, wearing the Turbine in a human-powered cycle, which is great.

So this is really about socialising people with the product, the idea of putting something in the nose, which we recognise is a strange idea. But by socialising it, we get them used to the concept and then when it comes to actually the clinical or medical application, we have a – the Mute, which is the first version if you like, our first foray into the sleep space; but acknowledging that one of the key challenges in the sleep industry is getting people to accept a new technology and then adopt it.

David Cunnington: So who is the Mute for?

Michael Johnson: So the Mute is actually ideal for anybody who snores from this sort of upper airway issue, from – it’s certainly not a panacea. If you’re snoring from mostly – from issues in the throat, this isn’t going to assist with that. But for people who suffer from a deviated septum or a nasal congestion or snoring for those reasons, it’s something they should probably consider trying.

David Cunnington: Great. Thanks Michael. Now, what does the future hold? What else has RhinoMed got up its sleeve?

Michael Johnson: Well, we sort of see this technology as the true platform technology because we know that we can for instance introduce fragrances into it. So we’re working on a formulation that will act as a nasal decongestant. So a long release, low dose, menthol eucalypt that will basically stop people getting congested at night, to make it easier.

We’re having clinicians use the Mute in conjunction with an oral device to assist with once again the breathing issues that many patients complain of and we’ve had a lot of clinicians at this conference in particular suggest that combining it with a CPAP mask may assist people once again with nasal issues to be more compliant.

But the thing that we’re pretty excited about at the moment is actually this technology here which is the idea I suppose of combining a stent with a valving system to help create EPAP and Professor Darren Mansfield is actually halfway through the trial in that at Monash. We expect the results hopefully maybe later this year, early next, and that will be pretty pivotal because what we will be trying to show there is a well-tolerated, efficacious device in sleep apnea, targeting mild to moderate patients.

David Cunnington: Just talk me through how this works.

Michael Johnson: Sure. So the concept behind it is that if you can stent the nose, you will overcome that issue of people unable to breathe, that resistance. So by stenting the nose and then putting a valving system in so that people can breathe in, we actually breathe in more efficiently. But then when they exhale, they hit some resistance. That’s created by the valving system and as a result of that, you create upper airway pressure and that’s actually a – that’s going to assist some patients suffering mild to moderate OSA.

David Cunnington: Yeah, I really look forward to this type of devices becoming available and I like your suggestion too. That’s where I find the Mute sometimes helpful in my practice as an add-on to some of the other existing treatments, so dental appliances or CPAP mask where someone has got a bit of nasal obstruction. So yeah, it can be helpful.

Michael Johnson: Yeah. We sort of recognise that this is – it’s not a panacea but it probably plays a role in very different patient groups in different ways and I think that’s the exciting thing from our perspective is that from an innovation perspective, we can respond to the specific needs of patients down the track and specific clinicians in different ways.

David Cunnington: Thanks Michael.

Michael Johnson: Great. Pleasure. Thanks David.

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