Cerebra Health is a digital health-tech company focused on improving access to advanced technology for sleep assessment and diagnosis.
The story of Cerebra is centered around medical device technologies developed by Dr. Magdy Younes, a renowned medical researcher. Dr. Younes is best recognized for his groundbreaking work in the field of respirology, one facet of which includes the development of technologies used in respiratory equipment throughout the world. Eventually his focus shifted to sleep medicine, when he founded and then directed the sleep lab at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. During his tenure, he recognized that while sleep is a fundamental pillar of human health, sleep medicine was lagging behind other fields in the application of digital technology – and patient care was suffering as a result. With this realization, Dr. Younes directed his efforts toward sleep research and innovation, leading over time to advancements which rivalled his earlier work in respiratory medicine.
His first goal was to generate a more efficient method for performing R&K sleep staging of polysomnograms (sleep studies). Several years of focused development work coupled with a novel approach to algorithm creation, produced the Michele Sleep Scoring system, which was approved in both Canada and the United States in 2011. Michele improved the speed and consistency of sleep staging without compromising overall accuracy, and – perhaps even more crucially – it established a platform for the development of digital sleep analytics.
While R&K scoring provides some insight into sleep depth, Dr. Younes knew that this system (developed in 1968) was not capable of measuring true sleep quality; something more was required to gain a deeper understanding. To address this need, he developed an objective, fully-digital, continuous measurement of sleep depth – the Odds Ratio Product (a.k.a. the Sleep Depth Scale). This scale, one of several digital tools featured in the Michele Sleep Scoring software, is now the subject of considerable interest, as researchers and clinicians seek to understand and optimize personal sleep quality. Having completed the Sleep Depth Scale and Michele Sleep Scoring system, Dr. Younes focused on another major impediment to sleep medicine – the sleep lab itself. With clinical-quality EEG measurement restricted to sleep labs, the ability to improve sleep on a broader scale was severely impaired. While home testing for sleep apnea is being performed to meet the growing demand for treatment, it is limited by the lack of any direct assessment of sleep through the EEG. To address this need, Dr. Younes and his team developed the Prodigy Sleep Monitor.
Prodigy is the first home EEG recording system that, while set up entirely by the patient themselves, is able to generate brain signals indistinguishable from those collected in a sleep lab. Prodigy’s clinical quality EEG recording supports conventional R&K sleep scoring as well as the digital sleep analytics of the Michele Sleep scoring system, including the Sleep Depth Scale.
Cerebra was founded by Earl Gardiner in 2015 to advance the commercialization and integration of these technologies within the sleep industry. Like Dr. Younes, Earl also possessed extensive experience in sleep medicine from a commercial perspective as founder of RANA Respiratory Care Group – one of western Canada’s largest providers of sleep apnea treatment and home oxygen therapy. Earl’s interest in Dr. Younes’ discoveries was rooted in his own 15 years of experience treating sleep, where he was frustrated that existing technologies focused solely on treating sleep apnea rather than addressing a broader range of sleep disorders and improving sleep itself. He recognized the need and potential to open diagnosis, and then treatment, to a greater number of people, as well as to assess personal sleep quality in a way that can’t be achieved with consumer sleep tracking devices.
In the summer of 2017, Cerebra acquired Dr. Younes’ company, Younes Medical Technologies, formally bringing these two organizations together. The shared vision of Dr. Magdy Younes and Earl Gardiner to revolutionize sleep medicine resides at the core of Cerebra Health. The Company aims to realize this vision in a scalable way by applying a digital, health-tech business model to clinical sleep medicine, founded on state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies.
Today, Cerebra provides in-home, door to door sleep diagnostic services for Canadian health care providers. Cerebra’s digital service platform offers unmatched capabilities for in-home sleep analysis, with a focus on improved user experience and increased efficiency for our treatment partners. The Company is also working in partnership with leading sleep scientists and researchers to advance clinical sleep medicine through digital sleep analysis, with many promising breakthroughs on the horizon.
Earl Gardiner CEO
Earl founded Cerebra in 2015, establishing the Company to serve sleep care needs he had seen in his experience building and leading RANA Respiratory Care Group. RANA is a provider of respiratory care to western Canadians with sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and respiratory disease. Earl began his career as a healthcare system accountant and progressed to serve as CEO of the Tri-Lake Health Region. Earl is driven by delivering highest quality, accessible care for patients. He is also committed to building the medical device industry, and his prior roles include past Chair of Life Science Association of Manitoba (LSAM). Earl holds a Certificate in Health Care Administration (1982) from the University of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Magdy Younes, MD, FRCPC, PhD Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Younes is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He established the sleep laboratory at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg in 1991, directing it for ten years. Dr. Younes’s research in respirology, critical care medicine and sleep medicine has resulted in 140 original peer-reviewed papers and 22 book chapters and reviews and numerous patents; more recently, he has authored or co-authored 25 influential peer-reviewed publications on the pathogenesis of sleep apnea, including the chapter in the authoritative Comprehensive Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.
Dr. Younes is the inventor of Michele Sleep Scoring, the Prodigy Sleep Monitor, Proportional Assist Ventilation (PAV), and several methods for non-invasive determination of respiratory mechanics.
Lorna McLeod Chief Financial Officer
Lorna joined the Cerebra Health team in June 2018. Prior to this she was Senior Vice President, Finance at Postmedia Network Inc., a Canadian newsmedia company representing more than 140 brands across multiple print, online, and mobile platforms. She held senior finance positions in Postmedia’s predecessor companies, Canwest Limited Partnership and Canwest Media. Prior to joining Canwest, she was Vice President, Finance at TruServ Canada. Lorna holds a CPA, CA designation as well as a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba.
Dawson Reimer President
Dawson joined Cerebra Health in July 2016. Prior to this he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Medicure Inc., a US-hospital focused specialty pharmaceutical company. Dawson has also worked with Genesys Venture Inc., a life science business incubator, where he has supported several companies in business development, finance and product development activities. He has considerable experience serving on corporate and industry boards, including the Life Science Association of Manitoba (Chair). Dawson holds a Masters Degree in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba.
Darren DeCock Vice President, Operations
Darren joined the team at Cerebra Health as the Director of Operations at the beginning of 2016. Darren comes with a wealth of experience having worked at RANA Respiratory Care Group for nine years. At RANA he was instrumental in the growth of their Manitoba Sleep Program, streamlining and expanding the business into new markets. Darren holds a B.A. from the University of Manitoba as well as a certificate in Applied Management and Leadership Development Specialization from the University of Manitoba.
Brittany Gibson Director, Quality and Regulatory Affairs
Brittany has over 6 years’ experience in quality assurance and regulatory affairs with medical devices in the USA, Canada, European Union, Australia and Colombia. As Director, Quality and Regulatory Affairs for Cerebra Health, she specializes in ensuring that Cerebra’s medical devices are safe and effective, and meet regulations and standards around the world as well as the needs of users and the sleep industry. Brittany is a certified ISO 13485:2016 Lead Auditor, holding certificates in Medical Devices Quality Management Systems, Management Systems Auditing and Leading Management Systems Audit Teams.