St. Jude Medical - Neck and neck with Boston Scientific

St. Jude bought the rights to sell Spinal Modulation's Axium device.--Courtesy of Spinal Modulation

Company: St. Jude Medical ($STJ)

2012 revenue: $423M
2013 revenue (estimated): $426M
2018 revenue (projected): $580M

The scoop: For Minnesota-based St. Jude Medical, neurostimulation hasn't been without its challenges. A few years back, for example, the company faced the FDA's wrath in the form of a warning letter over manufacturing of one of its spinal cord stimulation systems to treat pain. St. Jude revealed during its 2014 investor presentation that it expects to resolve any lingering issues and "accelerate neuromodulation sales growth with new products."

Overall, St. Jude said it expects the neuromodulation market to grow globally primarily through spinal cord stimulation pain-treatment implants, but it sees a small but growing focus on deep brain stimulation and is trying to adapt accordingly.

In other words, under the stewardship of group president Eric Fain, St. Jude has its eyes on neuromodulation's future. Among its moves in that direction: the launch of a pivotal trial last December of up to 442 patients at as many as 50 U.S. sites to test its next-generation Prodigy neurostimulator to treat chronic pain. The company bills the device as the first spinal cord stimulator of its kind to use burst stimulation instead of the standard tonic stimulation, something that would potentially be easier to take. Researchers plan to test to see whether burst stimulation is more effective.

Last year, St. Jude also invested $40 million with an option to buy in Spinal Modulation, a California company focused on developing its Axium Neurostimulator System to treat lower limb pain. It's billed as using 95% less energy than traditional neuromodulation implants, as well as being the only device of its kind that targets the dorsal root ganglion in the spinal cord. A pivotal U.S. trial began last August.

For more:
St. Jude Medical will test a new neurostim approach for chronic pain
Spinal Modulation launches pivotal trial for neurostim device

St. Jude Medical - Neck and neck with Boston Scientific