Written by Kevin Volz.
Millions of patients living with chronic pain rely on medication to manage their condition. These drugs can cause debilitating side effects, and can also contribute to the growing epidemic of prescription medication abuse and addiction. Neuros Medical in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, has developed a drug-free solution to help patients manage their pain. The company’s device is a small implant that the patient turns on with a remote to electronically block selected nerves from sending post-amputation pain signals to the brain.
“We’ve conducted studies in which patients have used the device over 4,300 times, with 95 percent reduction of pain medication usage. Some patients who were taking over a dozen pills per week stopped taking their pain medication altogether after using the device,” said Jon J. Snyder, president and CEO of Neuros Medical.
Once activated, the device stays on for 30 minutes. Snyder says patients in Neuros Medical’s trials have seen sustained results, going several hours without having to use the device again. The new technology was tested on amputees, a market of about one million people in the United States who often don’t respond to any pain therapy currently available.
“The impact that it’s having on their quality of life is truly phenomenal,” said Snyder. “In the first participant study in 2011, a patient returned to the physician’s office with a big grin on his face. He said, ‘I slept through the night last night for the first time in seven years.’ It’s amazing to be there when they use the device and to hear patients say their pain is gone.”
Snyder could see the potential that neurostimulation provided when he was working for a medical device company that had a device focused on treating epilepsy and depression. In 2008, he became the first CEO in residence at BioEnterprise, a northeast Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, reviewing dozens of technologies. He started Neuros Medical with technology developed at Case Western Reserve University, with the promise that the Neuros therapy could potentially relieve those suffering from pain, without adding harsh side effects.
Neuros Medical raised $2 million in funding in 2009 from multiple Ohio Third Frontier partners including JumpStart, North Coast Angel Fund, Ohio TechAngel Fund and Queen City Angels. The funding allowed the company to develop the first generation product, organize clinical trials and grow their team. They’ve raised $13 million to date which has taken them through two clinical studies and two product development efforts.
“We now have 11 employees and are conducting a long-term trial with about a hundred patients,” said Snyder. “This will provide the data to show the safety and effectiveness of our technology, gain FDA approval, and hopefully launch the device in the next couple of years.”
Snyder says Neuros Medical has access to some of the world’s leading researchers and testing facilities thanks to the connections made through BioEnterprise and the medical organizations in Cleveland. He credits the resources in Ohio for the company’s continued growth and success.
“Ohio has the support in place to help a company like ours make it through those initial phases of development,” said Snyder. “We continue to see interest from industry partners and that has a lot to do with the strong foundation we built in the early days as we validated how this technology could change people’s lives.”