Muscle tech: Sleep apnea therapeutic showcased at global biotech event

Muscle tech: Sleep apnea therapeutic showcased at global biotech event

A world-first therapeutic for treating sleep apnea and a range of other weak muscle conditions will be unveiled this month at global biotech innovation event, BIO Digital.

Developed by RMIT in collaboration with Snoretox Pty Ltd, the patented muscle toning technology will be presented for the first time at the virtual gathering of the global biotech industry.

The prototype technology is based on molecules of tetanus toxin, modified to ensure they work around the tetanus vaccine, which usually prevents the toxin from affecting the body.

Just as Botox uses tiny amounts of botuiinum toxin to relax muscles, this new therapeutic uses minute amounts of tetanus toxin to effectively achieve the opposite - muscle toning.

The technology could potentially be used to treat many low tone muscle conditions such as incontinence, snoring and floppy eyelids; alleviate symptoms of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and myopathy; and be applied for cosmetic and veterinary conditions.

It also offers hope of a therapeutic alternative for the estimated 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a major disease target.

Snoretox Director, Adjunct Professor Tony Sasse, said about 30 million people worldwide relied on cumbersome airway pressure machines to treat sleep apnea.

“There are currently no drugs available, so people with moderate or severe sleep apnea have no alternative except to wear a mask and hose while they sleep,” Sasse said.

“Our modified tetanus toxin molecules offer real and effective treatment choices for patients, and we anticipate the vast majority would love to get rid of their CPAPs.

“With further development, this brand new class of therapeutics will offer a game-changing alternative to the millions of people suffering low tone muscle conditions around the globe.”

The game-changing technology has been in development for over 15 years, led by RMIT School of Science biotechnologist Professor Peter Smooker.

“Our biggest challenge was getting around the effects of the tetanus vaccine, which blocks the toxin from working,” Smooker said.

“The results of our lab and pre-clinical trials show the modified tetanus toxin molecules we’ve developed are safe, targeted and effective.”

Following successful animal trials, researchers are now seeking regulatory approval to conduct clinical trials and bring the patented technology to market.

The therapeutics have been trademarked Snoretox (for sleep apnea) and Tonetox (for other applications).

The research was supported by Australian Research Council Linkage grants and RMIT Enabling Capability Platform funding.

The Snoretox presentation will be available on-demand to registered participants during BIO Digital (June 8-12).

For more information about the technology:


Story: Gosia Kaszubska


  • Research
  • RMIT Europe
  • Science and technology
  • Industry

Related News

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.