Hillel's Tech Corner: Inspira makes breathing easy

In 2021, the ability to breathe is sadly something we can’t take for granted anymore.

Inspira's breathing technology.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Inspira's breathing technology.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Have you ever considered the worst possible way for a person to die? I have. I know it’s dark, but at the top of the list is drowning. Starvation is also up there. Another one is the inability to breathe. I know that’s a common fear but it’s definitely at the top of my list. 
In 2021, the ability to breathe is sadly something we can’t take for granted anymore. 
So what happens when someone can’t breathe, whether because of COVID or something else? Well, there are basically two options. 
Option number one are oxygen supplemental solutions (nasal, BPAP, CPAP and the like) where the patient is awake and responsive and breathing spontaneously, but the pressure on the patient’s lungs is very high (which means the treatment is quite uncomfortable), or when these can’t improve the patient’s saturation level, there is option number two.
The second potential option is when doctors need to shift to intubating the patient and placing them on mechanical ventilators. This is a highly complicated, risky and costly procedure where the patient is placed into a coma and a machine is doing the breathing for him. This treatment requires an ICU bed and staff and it is a lengthy procedure that requires weaning (if the patient survives this). 
I don’t know about you, but neither of those options sounds very appealing to me. 
Inspira’s vision was born when Udi Nussinovitch, the company’s cofounder and chief scientific officer, combined his medical studies with an active-duty service in the IDF. When one of Udi’s military friends suffered from pneumonia and was hospitalized in an intensive care unit, it was clear that an accurate solution was unavailable. 
Witnessing a young person with no preexisting conditions given such invasive treatment with high-risk complications continued to bother Udi as he joined the Israeli Navy and supported the respiratory challenges of professional divers. The need for a far less invasive solution was evident, and Inspira was built to find it.
Some background. There are 400 million people globally suffering from respiratory issues on an average year, out of which 20 million are placed on life support MV (mechanical ventilation). During the pandemic, ventilators have taken center stage and those numbers have increased. 
Inspira is a medical technology company offering a solution for patients suffering with respiratory failure. Where option one is not enough and option two does not justify the risks to the patients, is where Inspira comes in.
Inspira Technologies, with its Augmented Respiration Technology (ART) solution, fits right in the gap, which they call the Respiratory Treatment Gap, offering a treatment which directly oxygenates the blood, increasing saturation level within 60 seconds all this while the patient is awake and responsive. This is an entirely new category for treating respiratory failure. 
Inspira’s ART does not require an ICU. It can be used in general wards and clinics.
THE COMPANY has developed a proprietary solution that uses a standard procedure to insert a tiny 6mm cannula into the jugular vein located in the neck. They extract and oxygenate just ~5% of the patient’s blood at any given time, reducing the burden on the sick lungs, and providing immediate relief elevating the oxygen saturation level in just 60+ seconds. This solution is very simple and efficient, with the patient being fully awake, responsive and communicating without requiring an ICU staff. 
Recently, Inspira Technologies and Sheba Medical Center announced a collaboration on the breakthrough respiration treatment that is being used on severely ill COVID-19 patients. 
ART is the world’s first technology to oxygenate blood directly as a first line support. 
Dr. Alexander Kogan, director of the cardiac surgery ICU at Sheba’s heart center commented: “We are very excited to test this breakthrough technology for respiratory distress. With the ART system, hopefully, patients will remain fully conscious during their treatment. We will be able to avoid the use of mechanical ventilation until it’s absolutely necessary and spare many patients from the risks of a medically-induced coma. Moreover, we anticipate further development of our novel renal replacement therapy technology for these critically ill patients with the help of Inspira.” 
Here’s some more information about Inspira. The company’s headquarters is located in Ra’anana and was first established in 2018 by three founders after having worked together in the garage since 2017. 
Dagi Ben-Noon, serving as the CEO, is the former cofounder, COO and director of Nano Dimension (NASDAQ: NNDM). He has multi industry experience in growing companies from concept to sales.
Joe Hayon, the president and CFO, is former CFO, CIO and corporate manager of Elscint (formerly NASDAQ & TSE: ELT), Sanmina – Med Divi (NASDAQ: SANM), and Plasan Group (Plasan Sasa, PNA, PCC). 
Finally, Dr. Udi Nussinovitch is the CSO. He is a board-certified cardiologist with ICU experience, senior diving and hyperbaric physician, who worked at Sheba Medical Center, Israel Naval Medical Institute, and currently works at Meir Medical Center. 
The company has raised to date approximately $13 million. The investors include a mix of  American, Israeli and Australian angel investors, family offices and small VCs. Some of them are from the medical industry.  
The company has 20 employees. As far as traction, Sheba is using the technology on Corona patients. On February 24, Inspira announced that Prof. Benad Goldwasser was appointed chairman of the board. 
Goldwasser brings extensive experience in the founding, development and successful exits of several medical device companies over the past three decades. 
As chair, Goldwasser will leverage his expertise in leading high growth, publicly traded companies to help drive the long-term development of Inspira Technologies’ medical device portfolio. In 1993, he cofounded Vidamed Inc., which went public on NASDAQ in 1995 and was later sold to Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT). He then cofounded Medinol Ltd., one of Israel’s most successful medical device firms, which partnered with Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) in the sales and marketing of its industry-leading coronary stents. 
Breathing successfully is one of those things you don’t appreciate until it’s gone. When someone faces respiratory issues, the solutions we had until now just needed disruption. Inspira is doing exactly that and leveraging cutting-edge technology to let us all breathe better. It doesn’t get more impactful than that.