Galvani, EnteroMedics ink research deal around obesity implant

Galvani will use a modified version of EnteroMedics' vagal nerve-blocking system in preclinical research.

EnteroMedics has signed on to modify its obesity-treating neuromodulation system for Galvani Bioelectronics—GlaxoSmithKline and Verily’s $715 million joint venture—to use in preclinical research.

St. Paul, Minnesota-based EnteroMedics markets the vBloc System, which targets feelings of hunger to treat obesity. Implanted in the abdomen via a laparoscopic procedure, the Maestro device delivers electrical pulses to the vagus nerve through a pair of leads. The stimulation blocks vagal nerve signals to control feelings of hunger and discourage overeating.

The FDA approved the vBloc System in 2015 for patients who have previously tried to lose weight through diet and exercise and have a BMI of 40 to 45, or a BMI between 35 and 39.9 along with a related condition, such as diabetes.


Share your opinion. Take our five minute survey.

How do you select the most suitable advanced dosage forms for new molecules in your development pipelines? Share your insights in this 5-minute survey. The first 50 qualified respondents will receive a $5 Amazon gift card.

RELATED: Allurion bumps up series C to $27M as it revs up for U.S. trial

The Maestro neuromodulator is the only FDA-approved device that uses electrical signals to treat obesity. In addition to pharmaceuticals, obesity may be treated with gastric bands and gastric balloon systems, both of which restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold and help patients eat less.

GlaxoSmithKline has been working on bioelectronics since 2012 and set up Galvani with Verily in 2016. Bioelectronics is based on using implants, such as the Maestro device, to stimulate the body’s own impulses to heal itself. The hope is that devices would cause biochemical changes in the body that are typically brought about by drugs.

In February, GE Ventures partnered with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute to support the latter’s Center for Bioelectronic Medicine. Northwell, which has already invested $75 million into bioelectronics research, is looking to treat cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases with bioelectronics.

Suggested Articles

Sarepta will negotiate a warning for golodirsen rather than carry out more studies. But the implications of the rejection range beyond golodirsen.

The Pfizer Foundation has awarded 20 grants to organizations involved in tackling infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries.

The engineered stain of E. coli performed no better than placebo, leading Synlogic to conclude its money is better spent on other assets.