Boucherville, September 6, 2018 – DEL announces a total investment of $122,000 in Rheabrio, a company that develops, manufactures and markets the Facembrace comfort accessory for sleep care. The DEL investment is comprised of two components: $100,000 from its start-up financing program and $22,000 in non-repayable financial assistance. This DEL support complements a major first round of financing that enabled Rheabrio to commission its manufacturing facility and pursue its already promising commercialization efforts.
Facembrace: The perfect companion to the breathing mask
The result of more than three years of research and development by Rheabrio, the Facembrace comfort accessory is composed of biocompatible textiles, thermoformed and seamless. This very soft second skin is inserted between the patient’s face and breathing mask to protect and improve comfort while reducing the undesirable side effects caused by the prolonged wearing of a breathing mask used in the treatment of sleep apnea.
Some 10 million people in North America have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and eight million breathing devices and masks are sold every year. The main challenge for pulmonologists and respiratory therapists is to ensure adherence to therapy. The lack of comfort during positive airway pressure treatment is recognized as a challenge in maintaining the therapy. Given that 15% to 30% of people diagnosed refuse treatment and 15% to 20% abandon it along the way, while others endure the discomfort associated with the therapy, the business opportunity seized by Rheabrio with its innovative product is considerable. The Facembrace is targeting world markets.
“Since Rheabrio’s goal is to adapt to existing breathing masks in the marketplace rather than try to replace them, the company is positioning itself favourably with sleep industry leaders by offering a complementary product rather than a competitor,” says Julie Ethier, Executive Director of DEL. “In addition, the Facembrace meets the manufacturing requirements for Canadian and American medical accessories. It currently represents the best value on the market based on its affordable price and the multiple benefits it offers to patients. This innovation is covered by comprehensive intellectual property protection in several countries and its manufacturing processes are also innovative. These are all assets that prompted DEL to support this promising young SME in the start-up of its operations.”
“We worked closely with experts and private sleep clinics in the area to validate interest in the Facembrace and to test the product with patients during the development phase,” says Louise Bernard, President and CEO of Rheabrio. “These preliminary trials were very conclusive, confirming a tremendous need and the adoption of the product by users. Sleep care clinics from coast to coast in Canada have demonstrated an interest in distributing the product. We have already established contacts with major manufacturers of breathing masks and developed links with various networks of sleep care clinics, especially in France and Australia. There are many opportunities and with DEL’s financial support, we will be better positioned to seize them and execute out business plan.”
Développement économique de l’agglomération de Longueuil (DEL) is a not-for-profit organization offering services to all cities in the agglomeration of Longueuil. Its mission is to drive Longueuil’s companies towards success by offering them specialized business support and fostering new investments, thereby generating significant economic and social impacts on the territory. For more information: www.delagglo.ca
Based in Brossard, Rheabrio develops, manufactures and markets innovative products designed to improve the well-being of people. Its flagship product, Facembrace, is a breathable membrane that fits between the skin and a breathing mask. It aims to protect and improve the comfort of the skin, while reducing the undesirable side effects caused by the daily wearing of a breathing mask used in the CPAP treatment of sleep apnea. Meeting the conditions of use of a medical accessory, the company holds a Health Canada establishment licence. The company is preparing to introduce the product to the American and European markets. For more information: www.rheabrio.com and www.facembrace.com.
Source: Catherine Beaudin
Director of Communications and Public Relations
Information: Kym Lefebvre-Gamache
Manager of Communications