PNS Market Attracts Host of New Competitors
by James Cavuoto, editor
July 2021 issue
The market for peripheral nerve stimulation systems has become increasingly crowded in recent months, as new competitors have emerged to treat neurological disorders such as chronic pain and overactive bladder. At the recent mid-year meeting of the North American Neuromodulation Society in Orlando, FL [see conference report, p6], executives from six PNS vendors described their product offerings. These included Nalu Medical, SPR Therapeutics, Stimwave, BlueWind Medical, Mainstay Medical, and Neuspera Medical.
Several speakers at that session related that growth in the PNS market will be driven by moving neuromodulation up in the continuum of care. In treating bowel and bladder disorders such as OAB, for example, neuromodulation needs to move from a third-line therapy to a first or second option.
Other new players in the PNS market are touting novel implantation strategies. Neuronoff recently disclosed that they have developed a fully removable version of its Injectrode, an electrode that can be injected using an 18-gauge needle to reach any location currently targeted by lidocaine or steroid injections, such as transforaminal epidural injections which commonly take about 10 minutes in an office setting. The Injectrode conforms with an anchor at the target location, designed to prevent unwanted dislocation or movement in the future.
A TENS-like device is able to stimulate the nerve target tissue deep inside the body by passing current through the Injectrode. Most recently, the team disclosed that the Injectrode can be fully recovered using a 16-gauge needle, which is a first for minimally invasive neuromodulation technologies. The team is reportedly working on integrating its device with other vendors’ implantable pulse generators.
Perhaps spurred on by the financial success of Axonics Modulation, PNS startups targeting OAB have attracted considerable investor interest. Earlier this month, Neuspera closed a $65 million C round [see article, p3]. Last year, European device manufacturer Coloplast acquired Nine Continents Medical, Inc., an early stage company developing an implantable tibial nerve stimulation system, for $145 million plus milestone payments. Also this month, BlueWind announced that the 100th patient has been enrolled in its OASIS of its RENOVA iStim tibial nerve stimulation system for OAB.
Another new PNS player that emerged on the NANS show floor is a spinoff, of sorts, of Stimwave’s injectable neurostimulation system. Stimwave’s former CEO Laura Tyler Perryman showed an injectable device called Moventis PNS, which is targeting knee pain. The company marketing the device, Pain Specialists Group Ltd., is likely to face legal scrutiny from Stimwave [see vendor profile, p7]. Perryman said that firm is owned by a group of clinicians who invested in the startup. Sharing the booth with Moventis was Uro Medical Corp., another Perryman-affiliated firm that recently acquired assets of Micron Medical Corp. (formerly StimGuard), including the Protect PNS device for treating OAB. Perryman said that firm was owned by her husband and her son.