NeuroMetrix eyes sales rep expansion for pain device rollout

NeuroMetrix nailed a coveted 510(k) clearance for its Sensus diabetic pain management device last fall, and the company this week detailed robust sales plans it hopes will help the product reach hundreds of thousands of patients and reverse red ink.

All of it takes place in phases. NeuroMetrix, which is also developing its neurodiagnostics business, said it hopes to increas the number of its field sales reps from 30 right now to 100 by midyear and 250 by year-end through its work with 7 durable medical equipment suppliers. Plans also call for targeting Medicare Advantage accounts and select international markets, NeuroMetrix noted in its Q4 2012 earnings disclosure. In short, a major, phased rollout will be in play for Sensus, a noninvasive transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator that treats diabetic neuropathy, chronic pain and other pain-related conditions.

It hasn't been an easy road to get to this point, however. As the Massachusetts company notes in its earnings announcement, 2012 was also a year of consolidation and cutbacks. NeuroMetrix's 35-employee workforce is 40% smaller than it was in 2012, the result of a streamlined focus intended to save money. NeuroMetrix believes the downsizing will slash its operating costs to between $11 million and $12 million in 2013, down from $14 million in 2012.

There's also the pesky issue that crept up last fall: NeuroMetrix found itself on Nasdaq probation because its stock plunged below the $1 minimum-listing price. A reverse split of its common stock on a 1:6 share basis execute on Feb. 15 is intended to address this and boost the price, a sobering move for a company that launched in 1996 with major expectations and intellectual property developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School behind it.

NeuroMetrix said it booked $1.5 million in revenue in the 2012 fourth quarter, down from more than $2.3 million in the 2011 fourth quarter. Overall revenue for 2012 surpassed $7.5 million, versus just under $10.4 million in revenue a year ago. For the 2012 fourth quarter, net losses nearly hit $1.9 million, but that's an improvement over a $2.4 million net loss in the 2011 fourth quarter. For the year, NeuroMetrix lost $10 million, up slightly from a $9.98 million net loss in 2011. The company reported more than $8.6 million in cash and equivalents on hand at the end of 2012, versus nearly $10.3 million at the end of 2011.

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