By Mary Vanac
Neuros Medical Inc. plans to double — maybe even triple — its employment over the coming year as it uses a $1.5 million U.S. Dept. of Defense grant to speed development of its neurostimulation device to block chronic pain.
The Willoughby, Ohio-based company is developing a device that uses a pacemaker-sized generator and an electrode to stimulate nerves to block pain from amputations, sometimes called stump pain, without the use of drugs. The Applied Research and Technology Development Award (PDF) is coming from the Defense Medical Research and Development program.
“It will greatly aid the product development underway and advance it further,” Neuros Medical president and CEO Jon Snyder said. “It will also help with funding human clinical research.”
The grant also will enable Neuros to hire between two and six product and clinical development staff members within 12 months, he added. Neuros now employs three people.
“We are a development-stage company. We’re getting through the product development. We’re still targeting later this year to commence the human study,” Snyder said.
Created in October 2008, Neuros Medical landed $375,000 in seed funding from JumpStart and Case Technology Ventures in March 2009, and $1.8 million from several investors, including lead investor North Coast Angel Fund in Cleveland, during its first round of venture financing in October 2009.
In December, Neuros Medical teamed with Battelle, the independent science and technology enterprise in Columbus, Ohio, to develop its device.
The Applied Research and Technology Development Award won by Neuros Medical was offered for the first time in fiscal 2010, according to the Defense Medical Research website. The company’s award was among the first 40 to be made, Snyder said. About 800 companies responded to the 2009 request for proposal, he said.
“We feel pretty good, as far as getting the award, but also the thorough review this goes through,” Snyder said. “It’s a validation of the promise of the technology and its need.”
Neuros Medical’s device is based on technology created by Kevin Kilgore and Dr. Niloy Bhadra of Case Western Reserve University’s Biomedical Engineering Department and MetroHealth Medical Center, both in Cleveland.
The awards are supposed to “advance state-of’the-art solutions for world-class medical care with an emphasis on post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, prosthetics, restoration of eyesight and advancing eye care, and other conditions directly relevant to the injuries our service members are currently receiving on the battlefield,” according to the Defense Medical Research site.
“I think there are about 1,300 amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan, so far,” Snyder said. The amputations are a result of battlefield injury, but also vascular disease, he noted.