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.
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 over 8,000 people globally and operates in more than 140 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.