Israeli back pain device company lands $3.5M investment, plans Akron move
Israeli pain-relief neurostimulation device company Nervomatrix has received a $3.5 million series A investment and is planning to set up its North American sales and marketing headquarters in Akron, Ohio.
The funding comes entirely from Akron-based Everett Partners, and the Israeli company will use it to establish its base in Akron, and fund product enhancements and post-clinical studies, said Neil Wyant, managing director with Everett. Nervomatrix sprang from an Israeli incubator called Targetech. Everett and the city of Akron have invested in Targetech, and Wyant serves as the incubator’s chairman.
Nervomatrix has already received 510(k) approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin marketing its back-pain device. It has sold two devices to an unidentified customer in California, and the same customer plans to buy four more, according to Wyant.
As an investor, Wyant is smitten with Nervomatrix’s capital efficiency. “With very little seed capital, this company went from an idea to a prototype to FDA approval to its first customer sales in less than four years,” he said. “How many companies achieve market sales before they get to a series A, and how many of those are medical device companies?”
Prior to the $3.5 million investment, Nervomatrix had pulled in less than $1 million in investment funding, Wyant said.
The key to Nervomatrix’s technology is a proprietary imaging function that identifies electrical activity, and in turn pain points, in the back. The device then noninvasively delivers electrical stimulation on the surface of a patient’s skin to those pain points.
“Instead of blasting the area more broadly and generally with electrical stimulation, it targets very narrowly and specifically those trigger points identified by the diagnostic component of the device,” Wyant said.
Nervomatrix plans to initially sell the device to back pain centers and chiropractic centers. The company could eventually expand the device’s application to other areas of the body, such as the knee, shoulder and upper back, Wyant said.
Nervomatrix’s establishment of an Akron office, which is expected to happen early next year, is a big win for Everett and the city. About 5 years ago, the city of Akron, Summit County and several local private investors formed Greater Akron Investment Partners to invest in Targetech, the Israeli incubator.
The Targetech partnership was conceived as a vehicle for importing Israeli medtech companies to Northeast Ohio, and the Nervomatrix move represents the first time that vision has come to fruition — and probably not the last, according to Wyant.
The Akron office is expected to consist of just one or two employees in the early going, but could expand to “dozens” of workers in the coming years if Nervomatrix’s sales grow as its investors project, Wyant said.