|Medtronic's Activa PC+S, a first-of-its-kind brain stimulator--Courtesy of Medtronic|
Company: Medtronic ($MDT)
2012 revenue: $1.38B
2013 revenue (estimated): $1.45B
2018 revenue (projected): $1.89B
The scoop: Medtronic is the most heavily invested in neuromodulation among device companies by a long shot and is expected to keep its top spot in the space through 2018 as it pursues continued growth from a position of strength. The Minnesota device giant refers to neuromodulation on its website as "the second-oldest and third-largest" of its business units, formed by the use of its heart electrical stimulation expertise (see pacemakers and defibrillators) to treat nervous system-related diseases and conditions. Medtronic employs or is studying neuromodulation technology for multiple uses, including movement and psychiatric disorders, gastric electrical stimulation, targeted drug delivery for chronic pain, spinal cord stimulation and sacral neuromodulation, a treatment for bladder and bowel control that focuses on the sacral nerve.
Over the past year, Medtronic has arguably drawn the most attention through advances in using deep brain stimulation (DBS; a form of neuromodulation) to treat Parkinson's disease. In August, the company disclosed that the FDA had cleared its new Activa PC+S for investigational use. It's a deep brain stimulation implant with sensing technology designed to treat Parkinson's disease through standard DBS therapy that is more customized because it reads brain signals in order to administer stimulation to treat patient-specific needs. Researchers earlier in 2013 also made some progress using Medtronic's Soletra and Kinetra DBS devices combined with drugs to help improve symptoms in patients with early-stage Parkinson's disease.
In April, Medtronic kicked off a large-scale study to test its subcutaneous nerve stimulation devices as a treatment for chronic back pain through peripheral nerve stimulation. They've been previously cleared for spinal cord stimulation for the same indication.
Christopher O'Connell, Medtronic's executive vice president and president of the restorative therapies group, has shaped the company's neuromodulation product development since August 2009.
Medtronic implant could point to future of Parkinson's treatment
Medtronic launches FDA-targeted study for pain devices
Medtronic DBS devices, with drugs, improved early-stage Parkinson's symptoms