Onera receives investment to develop next-generation sleep diagnostic device


Onera, a spin-off from imec and Holst Centre, announced the successful closure of a seed round of financing enabling the company to develop a wearable, fully disposable, medically graded sleep diagnostic device. The startup's mission is to bring gold standard sleep diagnostics from the sleep lab to the comfort of the patient's home. The seed investment is secured by imec's venturing programme imec.xpand and the Dutch development agency Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschapij (BOM).

Sleep related health issues are rapidly becoming one of the biggest healthcare challenges. In recent years, innovation in the field of sleep mainly focused on developing simple screening devices such as smart watches or mattress sensors that provide limited and inaccurate information on sleep quality. Onera competes with the current expensive and inconvenient gold standard solutions for detecting sleep disorders by packing superior sensing hardware and advanced algorithms in a fully disposable medical device. The company expects that their solution will cause a paradigm shift in diagnose and treatment of sleep disorders and will contribute significantly to the comfort and the general well-being of those affected by sleep related illnesses.

Ruben de Francisco, co-founder and managing director of Onera, stated: "For far too long people suffering from sleep disorders remained undiagnosed by lack of a reliable alternative to the existing expensive and inconvenient diagnostic tools. Our mission is to give every patient access to a wearable, patch-based and disposable device to accurately diagnose sleep related health issues in the comfort of their own home". Dr Hartmut Schneider, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University and chief medical officer at Onera, added: "The medical sleep community has been long awaiting a product like Onera's, making sleep diagnosis broadly accessible without sacrificing quality of care. I am thrilled to be part of the team that will make it possible."

"Imec has a long history of spinning off successful research results and promising technology into high-tech start-up companies," stated Luc Van den hove, president and Chief Executive Officer at imec. "Onera fits this strategy perfectly: over the years, imec has built a comprehensive portfolio in wireless sensing solutions and flexible electronics, and Onera will leverage this expertise to commercialise innovative sleep diagnostics solutions that meet a rising need in the healthcare sector today". John Baekelmans, managing director and VP at imec the Netherlands, is proud to add Onera to their portfolio of successful startup companies and adds: "Our aim is to support Onera to turn imec technology into a disruptive healthcare application. Especially here in Eindhoven we have a supporting climate for startups and I am confident the Onera team is perfectly capable to make this a success." Tom Vanhoutte, investment partner at imec.xpand, stated: "Imec.xpand is investing in companies that have the potential to become global players by disrupting the domain they are active in. We are convinced that the Onera team, also thanks to the close cooperation with imec, has all the tools, skills and expertise to become the ultimate sleep diagnostics company.

"The development of this technology will enable us to meet the major challenges with regards to the rising healthcare costs and shortage of staff in this industry in the near future,” says Stephan Hulsbergen, business developer at BOM Brabant Ventures.

“Moreover, it can be brought to fruition perfectly in the Brabant region, where deep medical device expertise, sensor and chip design competences and the supporting supply chain can be utilised optimally, so we are happy we can support this venture,” according to Jurgen van Eck, senior investment manager at BOM Brabant Ventures.

Caption: The team behind Onera (photo: Holst Centre)

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