Jessica Vermeer
29 October

The Walloon company Nyxoah has developed an implantable device against sleep apnea that’s now ready to be sold. Sleep apnea causes the muscles in the tongue to relax and block the airways. Consequences are loud snoring and interrupted night’s rest. This can cause tiredness, concentration problems and headaches. The company from Mont-Saint-Guibert, near Louvain-la-Neuve, remedies the disorder by stimulating the tongue muscles.

Nyxoah’s device is a type of microchip that’s implanted below the chin. Before going to sleep, the user needs to stick a patch on his skin. The patch activates the implant, which then stimulates the tongue muscles, preventing the tongue from relaxing and interrupting breathing. This can bring a significant increase in comfort for patients, who currently have to sleep with an oxygen mask.

It took Nyxoah thirteen years to perfect its technology, which uses neurostimulation of the tongue. Recently published results from a patient study show a great effect: the number of times air supply stops is halved when using the Nyxoah technology. With these convincing test results, the company is now entering the market.

Credit: Nyxoah

In the Belgian newspaper De Tijd, CEO Enrique Vega talks about “enormous potential” but doesn’t mention any precise goals. There are an estimated 425 million people in the world suffering from sleep apnea.

Nyxoah was founded in 2009 and managed to acquire about 50 million euros of capital. Founder Robert Taub is a serial entrepreneur who previously sold Omrix to Johnson & Johnson for 400 million dollars.