March 17, 2009

JumpStart and Case Technology Ventures Invest in Neuros Medical

JumpStart Inc., the Northeast Ohio venture development organization that accelerates the progress of high growth early-stage businesses, and Case Technology Ventures (CTV), a pre-seed stage venture capital and technology validation fund at Case Western Reserve University, recently announced an investment commitment of $375,000 in Neuros Medical, Inc., a Cleveland company commercializing neurostimulation technology developed at Case Western Reserve University.

Neuros' technology was created by Kevin Kilgore and Niloy Bhadra of Case Western Reserve University's Department of Biomedical Engineering and MetroHealth Medical Center, in partnership with the Cleveland FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) Center. It is referred to as "Nerve Block" and delivers high-frequency stimulation to sensory nerves in the peripheral nervous system to block chronic pain. Kilgore is an adjunct assistant professor and Bhadra is a research assistant professor.

The system consists of an electrode (also known as a lead) placed around a peripheral nerve and powered by a pace-maker size generator that is implanted into the chest cavity, abdomen or lower leg. Because the generator operates in a much higher frequency range than conventional neurostimulation devices, Neuros' technology is able to stop nerve activity to block pain completely, as opposed to simply masking the pain signal. Case Western Reserve has secured a patent for this unique high-frequency application and has an additional two patents pending.

The company's initial target market is patients with chronic pain, specifically residual limb pain, a common occurrence after undergoing limb amputation due to vascular disease, circulatory issues, diabetes, cancer or trauma-related events. According to Arch Phys Med Rehab Vol. 86, Oct. 2005, 68 to 76 percent of the 1.7 million U.S. patients who have undergone amputation experience residual limb pain. This number is expected to double by 2050.

The company is currently conducting investigational studies and will use the JumpStart and CTV investment to complete the testing.

"We are very excited to be providing funding that will help Neuros further develop and test this unique treatment for chronic pain conditions," said Lee Poseidon, the JumpStart entrepreneur-in-residence who will be working with the company. "We have been impressed with the Neuros team from the very beginning and look forward to working collaboratively on this venture with so many Cleveland-based health and research organizations such as Case and the Cleveland FES Center."

The company's chief executive officer, Jon Snyder, is a CEO-in-Residence at BioEnterprise and venture partner at Arboretum Ventures with over 20 years of experience in biomedical and healthcare sales, marketing and operations. The CEO-in-Residence program was funded by the Entrepreneurial Signature Program, an initiative of Ohio's Third Frontier Project. The 10 year, $1.6 billion Third Frontier Project is the state's largest ever initiative to expand Ohio's high tech research capabilities, innovation commercialization, and company formation, leading to high-paying jobs for generations to come.

"I'm excited about the investments from JumpStart and CTV," said Snyder. "It allows us to further advance the Neuros technology towards our goal of market introduction for patients suffering from chronic pain conditions including the residual limb pain market. This investment recognizes the positive results of our research, validates the potential in our technology, and supports our continued clinical trial plans and commercialization efforts going forward. It's very gratifying."

Case Western Reserve's Associate Vice President for Technology Management, Joseph Jankowski, stated "It's satisfying to see the intimate collaboration among JumpStart, BioEnterprise and Case Western Reserve University's researchers and commercialization leadership so quickly lead to this venture that portends to impact the region in terms of health care and financial returns. Likewise, the process of technology assessment, company launching and ultimate technology validation was enabled by and will positively impact other stakeholders including the FES Center and Ohio Neurostimulation Neuromodulation Partnership and its regional for-profit partners."

This is JumpStart's 49th investment in its 38th company and its fourth direct co-investment with Case Western Reserve's CTV Fund. Other healthcare companies in JumpStart's portfolio include AcelleRX Therapeutics, AnalizaDx, CardioInsight Technologies, CerviLenz, Freedom Meditech, Great Lakes Pharmaceuticals, and Synapse Biomedical, Tursiop Technologies, and VasoLux MicroSystems.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, March 17, 2009 11:39 AM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Faculty, Provost Initiatives, Research, news

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