Chronic pain affects 100 million Americans and is the most common cause of long-term disability. Long-term use of pain medications has significant risks, and chronic pain is a major contributor to opioid overuse.
NeuroMetrix hopes to offer effective, non-medication solutions for chronic pain. The Waltham, MA-based company has developed the Quell wearable device, which uses principles of neurostimulation to decrease the sensation of chronic pain. In a newly published study, 4 out of 5 users reported decreased pain after 60 days of use.
We spoke with NeuroMetrix founder and CEO Shai Gozani, MD, PhD, to find out more about the product and the company.
Cici Zhou, Medgadget: What made you interested in neurotechnology and pain relief?
Dr. Gozani: I founded NeuroMetrix Inc., in 1996 as a spin-off from my time at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology where I received my M.D. Our first product was a prescription diagnostic product used in doctors’ offices. We’ve spent over 20 years developing neuro diagnostic technology and when we developed Quell, our wearable device for chronic pain, we recognized that the healthcare industry is becoming more and more consumer-driven, so we wanted to make it our pain relief technology accessible directly to the consumer. We launched the first generation of Quell in 2015 and just recently introduced our next generation device, Quell 2.0 in September.
Medgadget: How does Quell work?
Dr. Gozani: Quell is an 100% drug free, clinically-proven technology that activates the descending pain inhibition system. Our device stimulates the sensory nerves in your calf, sending neural pulses to your brain [and] triggering the release of endogenous opioids. The device is designed for multiple types and sources of chronic pain. Our new device, Quell 2.0, is 50% smaller compared to our first generation and 20% more powerful.
Quell is the only FDA cleared pain relief device that can be used during the day and at night while sleeping. The newly updated companion Quell Smartphone App allows advanced personalization for users to set up and calibrate their device start and stop therapy, adjust intensity, and track activity, sleep and pain.
Medgadget: At what stage is the company today?
Dr. Gozani: NeuroMetrix is a commercial-stage publicly traded company and we’re focused on maintaining an active research effortthrough our pipeline programs. We’ve been granted over 70 patents and published numerous scientific papers and abstracts and look forward to continuing this momentum. Earlier [this month], we announced a new study published in the Journal of Pain and Relief where participants reported statistically and clinically significant decreases in pain interference with activity and mood.
Medgadget: Looking to the next five years, what are the biggest goals for Quell?
Dr. Gozani: Our mission is to empower people to improve their health through technology and reclaim their lives from chronic disease. Chronic pain is among the most prevalent and debilitating medical conditions, but also among the most controversial and complex to manage, impacting 100 million Americans and with economic costs reaching $635 billion a year. We see an opportunity for Quell and digital health to make a significant impact on this issue as consumers are becoming more empowered to take their care into their own hands and outside the walls of their doctor’s office. In the next five years, we hope to continue advancing our technology and conducting additional research to provide drug-free relief to the many Americans living with pain.
Product page: Quell 2.0…