The use of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to treat chronic pain is a growing area in the device world, and Boston Scientific ($BSX) is moving to claim a larger piece of the action in Europe. Its latest move: a new CE mark for its updated Precision Spectra SCS system to address a broad class of patients with chronic pain.
Plenty of companies are developing newer spinal-modulation pain management devices, and they're drawing large-scale interest from major players in the device world. Nevro, for example, one of this year's 2012 Fierce 15 companies, is still riding high on a $58 million financing round from 2011 led by Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation intended to fuel a crucial PMA study and an eventual U.S. commercial launch. J&J ($JNJ) and Medtronic ($MDT), among others, are also backing Spinal Modulation, another company with an implantable SCS system to treat chronic pain; it is still working off a $30 million Series D round from last year.
With more of these kinds of products approved in Europe, Boston Scientific is trying to set its product apart as having more bells and whistles than all the rest, including double the amount of contacts and power sources than rivals. Why would this matter? Doctors potentially gain more flexibility to treat their patient's leg both during the implant and in the future, with more coverage of the spinal cord to work with in managing pain. Previous versions had up to 16 contacts, for example, and the new SCS system has 32. And the market potential is huge, with at least 95 million people in Europe ages 15 to 64 who suffer from some kind of chronic pain, Boston Scientific notes.
In the face of struggling cardiac revenues, Boston Scientific has focused on developing new and updated products in other sectors; neuromodulation has been a rare growth area for the company and it is a major point of focus. Boston Scientific, for example, also gained a CE mark to use Precision Plus for peripheral nerve stimulation. And it won another CE mark status for its Vercise deep brain stimulator implant to treat Parkinson's disease.
In the U.S., Precision Spectra isn't yet approved, though the FDA is reviewing the product, the company noted.
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Special Report: Nevro – 2012 Fierce 15