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Revolutionary oxygen-therapy treatment: Quebec innovation provides tremendous benefits in the midst of the pandemic

OxyNov is proud to present oxygen therapy device FreeO2, which delivers automated oxygen titration and weaning

Original press release (French only) : OxyNov

Quebec City, February 2, 2021 — OxyNov is proud to present oxygen therapy device FreeO2, which delivers automated oxygen titration and weaning. The device was developed in partnership with the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Fondation IUCPQ, and Ville de Québec. FreeO2 will give Quebec technology worldwide visibility and strengthen the province’s leadership in the sector.

This new Quebec-made medical device will improve safety for millions of people receiving oxygen in hospitals. It automatically and continuously adapts the oxygen flow delivered to the patient based on a clinician-set target and the patient’s immediate needs. FreeO2 determines the patient’s second-to-second oxygen requirements to provide optimal support. Given that oxygenation is the number one issue for people hospitalized with COVID-19, FreeO2 is an essential treatment device for them. When used to treat patients at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute’s intensive care unit, the device not only provided benefits for patients, it also reduced the length of hospital stays by 29% and reduced costs to the health care system by 20%.

One of a kind
Since its inception, OxyNov has invested over $5 million in R&D and countless hours of clinical research to revolutionize oxygen therapy treatment, which has changed little over nearly a century. Contributions by valued partners have also helped bring the device to market.

“Ville de Québec is proud to provide $229,000 to support the development of FreeO2 through the Technology Showcase Program,” said Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume. “We are proud to stand with an innovative company like OxyNov that is making a tangible contribution to improving patient care.” 

“Today’s announcement is a real-world example of the positive impact and leverage effect Fondation IUCPQ has on projects that directly improve patient care, especially during the pandemic,” said Fondation IUCPQ executive director Josée Giguère. “We are very proud that the foundation is part of the technological revolution that is making the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute one of the top specialty hospitals in the world.”

Improved care for COVID-19 patients
FreeO2 is earning growing recognition as a valuable tool for treating acute respiratory failure—often seen in COVID-19 patients—and patients with chronic respiratory diseases. In the current pandemic, automated oxygen therapy using FreeO2 promises to reduce the number of interventions that hospital staff need to perform, improve safety for caregivers and patients, and save oxygen.

“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the variants in circulation, FreeO2 technology has a lot of upsides for hospitals,” said OxyNov CEO Patrice Allibert. “It reduces contact with patients, thereby lowering staff workloads and the risk of contagion for both patients and caregivers. Many countries are currently rationing oxygen. FreeO2 tailors oxygen consumption to patient need with pinpoint precision, eliminating so much wastage that is it the only the device of its kind that guarantees a return on investment.” 

“Since 1910, oxygen has been administered using manually-adjusted flowmeters,” said Quebec Heart and Lung Institute CEO Denis Bouchard. “That system makes it difficult to adjust oxygen delivery based on a patient’s physical condition. This new device marks an important step forward in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has the potential to improve patient safety and health, reduce the duration of hospital stays, and deliver significant health benefits. Our specialists have made a tangible contribution to advancing science and technology and people from around the globe can now reap the benefits.”

Canadian distribution
OxyNov recently inked a deal with Canadian distributor Novus Medical Inc. to bring FreeO2 to market. The device is now available throughout the country. Ontario-based Novus Medical already supplies Canadian healthcare providers with equipment and products for pulmonary diagnostics, respiratory therapy, neonatal care, mechanical ventilation, continuous positive airway pressure ventilation, and temperature management. With over 30 years of experience in medical equipment sales and support in Canada, Novus Medical is a partner of choice that provides solid clinical and technical expertise to serve customers across Canada.

“On behalf of Novus Medical founder and president Murray Beaton, let me say that we are proud to have been selected to represent FreeO2 in Canada,” said Novus Medical vice-president Dan Pinard. “We’ve had our eye on this product for several years and we were thrilled to introduce it to the Canadian market a few short weeks ago. Novus Medical specializes in sales of respiratory equipment and products and is recognized across the industry for top-notch personalized customer service and clinical knowledge. We believe that the unique features of the FreeO2 will save lives, save time for healthcare professionals, and reduce costs for hospitals.” 

Next generation FreeO2
A version of the FreeO2 for home use is in the works for 2023. The FreeDom will allow patients to return home earlier, saving healthcare system resources and delivering a variety of benefits to patients, including reduced complications and earlier discharge. More and more Quebecers want to continue living at home with their loved ones as long as they can, and the Quebec government has committed to increasing and improving home health care services. OxyNov can help achieve these goals.

“The project was born in a university setting—the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute and Université Laval,” said Dr. François Lellouch from the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute. “My colleague and friend Professor Erwan L’Her and I developed the first research prototypes with students from in the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. We conducted clinical research involving over 1,000 patients in Quebec City and France, first with patients experiencing chronic respiratory failure and then in all sorts of applications in pediatrics, emergency rooms, operating rooms, and now with COVID-19 patients. With the ongoing support of respirologists at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, and now from Fondation IUCPQ and Ville de Québec, we’re finally able to make our technology available for the benefit of hospital patients on a broad scale, 12 years after we first started.” 

OxyNov is a young Canadian company dedicated to clinical innovation and specialized in design and commercialization of innovative medical devices for oxygen therapy and respiratory assistance.

OxyNov was founded in 2009 by two physicians and researchers, Erwan L'Her (head of the intensive care unit and INSERM researcher at Brest University Hospital) and François Lellouche (resuscitator/intensivist and researcher at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute), as a result of a clinical research project that aimed to develop a device to automate oxygen therapy (FreeO2) and improve day-to-day treatment.