Study reveals that increased neurostimulation market offers growth for device industries

The device industry would do well to focus on the treatment needs of individuals suffering from nerve-related disorders as implanted technologies that deliver electrical stimulation begin to supplant drugs for treating certain nerve-related disorders.

So said Harry Glorikian, managing partner of Scientia Advisors, a global management consulting firm, in announcing the results of a study released today.

Scientia, based in Cambridge, MA and Palo Alto, CA, specializes in growth strategies for major and emerging companies. Scientia advises companies based on proprietary studies, many of which are self-funded.

“With an aging population and increasing concern about efficacy and health care costs, there is a growing need for treatments that are quicker, safer, more effective and less expensive than drug-based therapies,” Glorikian said.

“Neurostimulation can be advantageous to patients because it is not addictive, does not depend on individuals’ genetic makeup, and does not ordinarily cause systemic side effects,” Glorikian said. “By diminishing the need for ongoing medication and treatment, neurostimulation devices could also help reduce overall health care costs.“

In its study, Scientia found that the neurostimulation market has been growing at an average rate of 16 per cent since 2007. Scientia projects growth rates of 14- to-23 percent for certain technologies through 2012.

“Emerging companies are developing exciting new methods for treating a variety of nerve-related disorders. With added proof of safety and clinical efficacy, we expect that doctors will increasingly recommend surgically implanted devices instead of—or along with-- pharmaceuticals for many patients,” Glorikian said.

Scientia projects the most rapid growth for:

  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which delivers electrical impulses to targeted areas of the brain via implanted leads and power sources. DBS is now used in treating six percent of the approximately 6 million US patients who have movement disorders such as Parkinson ’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. DBS is in the pipeline for use in epilepsy, migraine, major depression, paralysis from stroke, and muscular and cognitive disorders.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS), which is used mainly for treating chronic pain. When added to conventional (pharmaceutical) therapy, Scientia reports, SCS decreases pain by 50 percent, whereas conventional therapy alone decreases pain by just nine percent.
  • Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS), which is currently used mainly as a last resort in treating serious bladder or fecal incontinence. In the US, 13 million individuals—including 10 percent of US individuals over age 65-- suffer from serious incontinence. Since 1997, some 50 thousand patients have been treated with implanted SNS devices, worldwide.

“Currently, the neurostimulation market is dominated by a few large companies but countless others could prosper by developing or acquiring these exciting new technologies,” Glorikian said.

Key opportunities and unmet needs include smaller devices that are easier to use, longer battery life and better feedback mechanisms, the study found.

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