Mainstay Medical snags $20M for back pain device

Mainstay Medical is developing a "pacemaker for the back" to treat chronic lower back pain, and the company now has $20 million in its coffers to fund the project thanks to an over-subscribed financing round.

Fountain Healthcare Partners led the round, joined by Medtronic ($MDT), Sofinnova Partners and others. Mainstay's early-stage device is an implant designed to restore spinal stability in patients with chronic, non-specific lower back pain. The company has completed a European feasibility study for its product, and this new cash infusion will help Mainstay expand its ranks and kickstart development, according to CEO Peter Crosby.

"Our early clinical results are very encouraging, and with this new investment we will be able to make great progress in advancing Mainstay's products from concept to reality and start to build our business," Crosby said in a statement. "The Mainstay approach has the potential to save billions of dollars on healthcare expenditure, while also creating a multi-billion market for us, so it is a winning situation all around."

The company said its next goal is a CE mark in Europe, followed by an FDA application at some point down the road.

Mainstay was light on details about the nature and functionality of its device, and the company is clearly in a very early stage--the website included in its announcement doesn't exist yet, for instance. However, the size of this funding round is certainly an encouraging sign. Once Mainstay has its tech up and running, it will have to compete with the further-along offerings from St. Jude Medical ($STJ), Nevro and NeuroMetrix, among others.

- read Mainstay's release