Building a Presence
Manufacturers of neurotechnology devices have done a good job lately of establishing a presence at important scientific conferences and industry events. In our view, the entire industry benefits when one or more neurotech firms make their presence known at events that previously lacked significant representation from neuro device companies.
We were pleased to see several neurotech companies not only present but turning heads at this month’s meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto. Neuronetics captured much attention with its first clinical data on transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for depression. Similarly, Aspect Medical Systems used the event to show the first data pointing up the predictive power of its EEG-based indicator of likely response to antidepression drugs. The two firms join Medtronic, who is positioning its Activa DBS system as a treatment for depression and OCD, and Cyberonics, marketing its VNS system for treatment-resistant depression, as active participants in the psychiatric disorder market.
Considering that until very recently, the psychiatric disorder market was considered by many to be the exclusive domain of the pharmaceutical industry, the presence of at least four key neurotech device vendors is no small matter. And for that we must all say thanks to Cyberonics for persevering in the face of continuing obstacles to become the first neuro device firm to obtain FDA approval in the psychiatric disorder market. As we speak, Cyberonics is continuing its pioneering ways, fighting to obtain reimbursement from government and private insurers for VNS therapy for treatment-resistant depression. These efforts will no doubt make it easier for neurotech device firms that follow to obtain market clearance and reimbursement in the psychiatric disorder market. And it is for that reason why we are pleased to have Cyberonics CEO Skip Cummins deliver the keynote address at our upcoming Neurotech Leaders Forum in September [see article, p2].
Multiple neurotech vendors will establish a presence at other key conference and shows in the life sciences industry. This includes next month’s meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association in Orlando, FL, where we expect several FES foot-drop stimulators to be on display [see article, p1]. The existence of several competitors within a medical specialty only adds to the perception that our industry is maturing. More important, it leads to the opportunity for vendors to collaborate in innovative ways. As an example, consider how Aspect Medical’s ability to identify nonresponders to antidepressant medications in a much shorter time frame might benefit—in a symbiotic way—vendors like Cyberonics or Neuronetics who are targeting the drug-resistant population.
We hope to see other examples of this increased visibility for neurotechnology firms in the months ahead.
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