At the end of December 2014, SOVAR granted $100,000 to Oxy’Nov, a start-up company it has been coaching for more than three years. Combined with $900,000 raised from angel investors, the total investment in this company reached $1M. The funding will allow Oxy’Nov to sustain its growth and finalize the development of its first product, the FreeO2TM, for a European market launch at the beginning of 2016. The device automatically adjusts oxygenation of patients suffering from acute or chronic cardiorespiratory diseases. The FreeO2 aims at replacing a century-old technology, the floating ballflowmeter. The new system will improve follow-up of recommendations for new patient-care strategies and their implementation that will accelerate hospital discharge.

Oxy’Nov co-founder, Dr. François Lellouche, is convinced that the financial support will help the company initiate the commercialization process for the FreeO2. ‘‘We are grateful for the confidence shown to us by the partners involved in this investment round, in particular the pneumologists of the Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute)’’, said Dr. Lellouche. ‘‘They have supported us from the very beginning through their INNOVAIR Investment Fund. In addition, we acknowledge support from the research centre of the Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, the 25 investors (doctors from Quebec and France, strategic investors and even a patient), Université Laval and finally SOVAR, the technology development and commercialization organisation whose support during the start-up phase has been crucial. Special thanks go to Mr. Yves Matte and his team.’’

SOVAR’s mission is to develop for industrial application and commercialization innovative technologies that are the outcome of research by university partners. Mr. Pierre Pedneau, SOVAR President and CEO, expressed his  pride in having participated in Oxy’Nov’s launch. ‘‘SOVAR is pleased to have been involved in this $1M investment round that will help the start-up founded by researchers from Université Laval and its affiliated research centres negotiate the next major steps in their commercialization strategy for the FreeO2.’’

About Oxy’Nov
Oxy’Nov Inc. is an innovative company in the area of medical technologies applied to respiratory support and in particular to oxygen therapy for cardiopulmonary diseases. The company is based in Quebec City (Canada) and has been in operation since 2009 when it was co-founded by Drs. François Lellouche, MD, PhD (Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec) and Erwan L’Her, MD, PhD. Dr. L’Her, who co-invented the FreeO2 with Dr. Lellouche, was previously based at the CHA de Lévis (affiliated university hospital in Lévis) and held the Chair for Emergency Medicine at Université Laval – Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis. He has returned to the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, in Brest, France. Oxy’Nov’s products are intended for patients in need of oxygen or respiratory support. Over 400 patients have been treated in France and Quebec with the FreeO2, an automated oxygen adjustment system. The system enhances patient safety and allows the implementation of hospital and home-care strategies as society grapples with higher numbers of hospitalized patients, rising health-care costs and limited resources. One of the objectives is to improve management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as this could potentially lead to savings in the billions in North America and Europe. According to data from the WHO, COPD is the 5th cause of death worldwide with three million victims per year. It is the first cause of hospitalization among all chronic diseases, and results in enormous costs to health systems.