NDI Medical's Spin-Off Model for Neurostimulation
This article was originally published in Start Up
The neurostimulation market is becoming electric for many large companies looking for major growth opportunities. Worth $1.3 billion in the US in 2009, the neurostimulation market is expected to grow to $2.7 billion by the year 2014. Those robust figures take into account some fourteen different clinical product categories, some of the largest being Alzheimer's disease, chronic pain, depression, epilepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, and stroke. In fact, that's the beauty of neurostimulation for medical device companies: it offers a single platform technology that can be leveraged over multiple, large product areas. But what model most efficiently helps a company with core expertise in neurostimulation - the knowledge of impulse generators and leads and their interface with nerves, power sources, and controllers - leverage that knowledge over numerous product areas? NDI Medical has its own strategy with a for-profit incubator solely focused on neurostimulation.
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In early October, EnteroMedics announced the preliminary results of its pivotaltrial on its vagal nerve blocking approach to obesity. The verdict: the study did not meet primary or secondary end points. This was the second neuromodulation company working in obesity (Medtronic was the first) to experience a disappointment in pivotal clinical trials after early results looked so good. Several neurostimulation companies are still targeting obesity. Should their investors be worried? Is this troubling news for the field of neuromodulation at large? Not surprisingly, executives from two neurostimulation companies--IntraPace and Leptos Biomedical--answer the questions simply: no and no.
According to Medtech Insight’s recently published report, US Markets for Neurostimulation Products, the frontier for neural stimulation is expanding rapidly, representing a $628 million market in 2006 that is forecast to grow by over 20% each year to produce sales approaching $2 billion in 2012. Topics discussed include implantable pulse generators, device reimbursement, and current and emerging applications for neurostimulation.
Beyond the functional stimulation of muscles to get them moving, electrical stimulation can also operate on blood vessels, membranes, and receptors-targets in the body once regarded as the domain of pharmaceuticals. Indeed, driving sales of $2 billion in the neurostimulation industry in 2005 and growth rates of almost 20% going forward, are large-market clinical indications that haven't been well-served by drugs: pain, epilepsy, depression, stroke, urinary incontinence, Parkinson's disease, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. For some of these disorders, chronic neurostimulation-of the deep brain, the spinal cord, the vagus and other nerves-promises site-specific, side-effect free and reversible therapies that have the potential to be efficacious where drugs can't.