A healthcare innovator from Cheshire has developed a device he believes can significantly reduce snoring.
Former GP Dr Pete Naylor has a patent pending on his Snorgo device that fits into an individual’s mouth for a series of short exercises.
Dr Naylor has been supported by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, who have helped with a funding bid, evaluation and introductions to NHS clinicians.
Around a quarter of all UK adults snore and it can have a damaging impact on mental health, physical wellbeing and family life.
Snoring is also associated with sleep apnoea, a potentially serious condition in which people stop breathing while asleep and which can lead to raised blood pressure and a greater risk of stroke.
Dr Naylor says users of Snorgo have reported ‘100 per cent satisfaction’ and he now wants to make the device commercially viable.
Snorgo is a small T-shaped plastic device that the patient puts between their lips and teeth, pulling outwards on it while resisting with their lips in a series of three 15-second exercises each day.
Dr Naylor said: "Cuurently we aren't aware of any other product that does anything other than relieve snoring. We aren't saying you won't need to use Snorgo again in the future afer you've finished your exercises, as like most things you'll need to top up on the exercises.
“But we’re very confident in the product. We have clinical evidence in that it’s being used to treat a condition. We initially ran a small trial with half a dozen people and took them on a journey with questionnaires at the start and finish that gave us some very positive results.
“We talked to users’ partners as well to get a more objective picture because you’re able to lose some of your bias if you consult a person’s partner.
“We also ran it through a larger group organised independently through the patient panel at the Innovation Agency and we had similar results – 100 per cent satisfaction and over 75 per cent of people reporting improvement. As this was backed by the snorers’ partners, too, it’s very, very encouraging.”
Nobody wanted to return the device after the trial.
Dr Naylor added: “I’d always had an interest in mental health as a GP and felt that sleep was absolutely at the core of the issue, both as a monitor of mental health and a precipitator.
“We know we have a very good product, but the Innovation Agency has been very supportive in helping us focus our energies in the right areas to help make it viable.”
Indi Singh, Commercial Programme Manager at the Innovation Agency, helped Dr Naylor identify grant funding and arranged for a patient panel to run rigorous tests and offer feedback on the device.
Dr Naylor was introduced to a team at the University of Chester who are currently running a real-world validation, a key service that helps innovators offer an objective evaluation of their product to potential buyers.
He was also introduced to Dr Saagar Patel, an acute medicine and respiratory consultant at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who aims to trial Snorgo with his patients.
Dr Patel said: “It’s a simple device but it has great potential in tackling a problem that can cause a lot of distress to patients. The Innovation Agency took the initiative in bringing Snorgo to our attention and the early signs are promising – it will be interesting to see how this grows.”
The Innovation Agency also put Dr Naylor in contact with Performance Sleep, a specialist sleep advisory company offering possible opportunities for collaboration.
Dr Naylor was a GP for 19 years in Wirral and spent six of those as a representative for the National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence (NICE), where he developed a special interest in diagnostics.
Health problems forced him out of general practice, but he became interested in developing an anti-snoring device and formed the company Sonaids with Phil Sutton, a plastics expert and his neighbour in Burton, near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.
Sonaids have so far sold more than 300 devices through their website.