In 1981 Professor Colin Sullivan and colleagues at the University of Sydney described and developed nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the first successful non-invasive treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
After publishing the successful results in Lancet, Sullivan, who had patented the technology, sought a compatible partner to help commercialise this life-changing technology. In 1986 he approached Chris Lynch, Managing Director of the Baxter Centre for Medical Research and Vice President of R&D for Baxter Healthcare, who in turn reached out to his Baxter co-worker Dr. Peter Farrell.
In 1987 Farrell, on behalf of Baxter, invested in Sullivan’s technology to further evolve the CPAP prototype and undertake clinical trials on a group of patients with severe sleep apnoea. In 1989, after Baxter decided not to enter the sleep apnoea market for a variety of reasons, Farrell founded ResMed (short for “Respiratory Medicine”) to buy Sullivan’s sleep technology from Baxter and to commercialise his prototype CPAP device to allow scalable device production – in other words, to bring CPAP to the world at large.
Since then, ResMed has delivered on Farrell’s promise: making CPAP masks, CPAP machines and in-home life support ventilators more comfortable, quieter and easier to use. It has also become the world leader in remote and self-monitoring software, with more than three million patients worldwide remotely monitored by clinicians. The software is shown to increase patients’ therapy adherence rates and clinicians’ business efficiencies.
Recent notable products include:
- 2017: AirTouch F20, a memory foam cushion full face mask for revolutionary comfort
- 2017: AirMini, the world’s smallest CPAP machine, weighing less than one pound, featuring waterless humidification and operated with a smartphone app
- 2016: AirFit 20 nasal and full face masks with InfinitySeal silicone cushions, found to fit 99% and 97% of wearers1-4, respectively
- 2015: S+, the world’s first non-contact sleep tracker (the next-generation tracker is the SleepScore Max, released in November 2017 by SleepScore Labs, a joint venture between ResMed, Dr. Oz and Pegasus Capital)
- 2014: Air10 Series CPAP machines that are smaller, quieter and all cloud-connected
- 2014: AirSense 10 AutoSet for Her, the world’s only CPAP designed to treat female-specific, mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnoea
- 2014: Astral, a lightweight, portable life support ventilator for in-home use. In 2016, it became the world's first ventilator with cloud-connected remote monitoring
Revenues for ResMed's first fiscal year in 1990 were less than $1 million, and there were only 9 employees. As of July 2017, ResMed is an S&P 500 company with a market cap exceeding $10 billion and yearly revenues above $2 billion. It employs more than 6,000 people globally and operates in more than 120 countries.
Today, ResMed founder Peter Farrell is Chairman of ResMed’s Board of Directors. His son Michael "Mick" Farrell, a ResMed employee for more than 15 years, has been CEO since 2013.