Rex Bionics - 5 device/diagnostic companies to watch

Company: Rex Bionics
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

FierceMedicalDevices first spoke with Rex Bionics, which makes a robotic exoskeleton, at AdvaMed 2010 when Professor Jonathan Sackier (photo) introduced the company to us. Sackier, whose passion is evident when he talks about the company and its product, spoke with FMD again this year and told us the interest in Rex Bionics remains immense, despite the tough economic times.

Rex Bionics' exoskeleton (pictured) is easy to maneuver, according to the company. The exoskeleton, which supports and holds a person, is a pair of robotic legs that enables the user to, among other things, stand up, walk and go up and down steps. Rex weighs roughly 84 lbs. and allows users strap themselves in to the robotic legs with Velcro and a number of buckled straps that fit around the legs, along with a belt that fits around the user's waist. 

Sackier said patients adapt rapidly--with "aplomb and ease"--to Rex. Earlier this year, the company announced the first sale of the exoskeleton to Dave MacCalman, a New Zealand Paralympian who had sustained a spinal cord injury. He took his first steps in more than 30 years while using the exoskeleton, as CNET noted.

In addition, there is great potential in the market with an aging population and people with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, stroke and muscular dystrophy.

He also told FMD the company is looking to further improve Rex and has been in partnership discussions. Furthermore, although Rex isn't for sale in U.S. at this time, the company hopes to use clinical data and obtain clearance soon. Sackier said "productive" meetings with U.S. agencies have taken place.

Rex Bionics has received angel funding and Sackier said future funding discussions are under way.

Rex Bionics - 5 device/diagnostic companies to watch