By ARUNDHATI PARMAR | Sep 18, 2017
As the nation battles the opioid crisis, medtech companies are relying on versions of a technology that they hope will make a real dent in how chronic pain is treated and managed: neurostimulation.
On Monday, Medtronic announced that FDA has approved its Intellis implantable spinal cord stimulation system to treat chronic, intractable pain. The device works with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 interface and collects data round the clock. The real-time availability of data allows physicians to make modifications to the therapy regimen.
“Chronic pain is challenging to manage. Having real-time data can provide more information about patients’ quality of life changes,” said Dr. Lance Roy, pain medicine specialist at Duke University Medical Center, in a Medtronic news release. “This platform represents a welcome new option for managing some kinds of chronic pain. New non-opioid treatment options are important given the national crisis related to opioid abuse.”
While Medtronic hopes the newest, smallest spinal cord neurostimulator will go aways to provide an alternative, a much smaller company is also making some headway to promote adoption of its neurostimulation device.
SPR Therapeutics announced last week that it has raised a $25 million Series C round to expand the sales of its FDA-cleared SPRINT wearable neurostimulation device.
The peripheral nerve stimulation system is designed to treat chronic and acute pain and after a physician prescribes it, the therapy can be performed at home. In an email forwarded by a representative, the founder, president and CEO of SPR Therapeutics challenged the conventional wisdom about neurostimulation and pain management as espoused by the likes of Medtronic.
“The prevailing wisdom in pain management and neurostimulation therapies for many years has been that stimulation must be provided chronically to provide long-term pain relief. As a result, there has been a proliferation of permanently implantable systems,” wrote Maria Bennett.
But citing the example of a patient who she said was comfortable even two years following the treatment, Bennett explained that the therapy is only for 60 days or eight weeks after which the leads are withdrawn.
The $25 million series C round comes from Frontcourt Ventures and an unnamed family office led the round. Previous investors include Frontcourt and other high-net-worth individuals and family offices.
The money will be used to hire the Cleveland company’s first dedicated sales team and clinical and research personnel, Bennett said. Further, the money will be used to fund clinical trials that will test the device in treating other types of pain including low back pain and pain after total knee replacements.
SPR Therapeutics has raised more than $60 million.