Cantillon: Mainstay Medical eyes back pain market
Three years to get a product to trials
Trials are starting initially in Australia as the regulatory path there was considered quicker to negotiate, according to the company’s Australian chief executive, Peter Crosby.
It has taken three years to get a product to trials: Mainstay Medical hopes that within another two, it will have a device on the market in Europe to address the perennial problem of chronic lower back pain.
Mainstay moved to Swords in Dublin as part of a $20 million fundraising 18 months ago led by Ireland’s Fountain Healthcare Partners. It’s working on the basis that a significant portion of the 7.5 million patients in the US alone suffering from chronic back pain can trace that problem to a lack of stability in the area of an old injury.
Its answer, an implanted device that sends electrical impulses to nerves that instruct deactivated muscles in the area to contract, strengthening them and improving stability.
Feasibility test results unveiled last summer suggest Mainstay is on the right road and it has now completed development of its device. Trials are starting initially in Australia as the regulatory path there was considered quicker to negotiate, according to the company’s Australian chief executive, Peter Crosby. However, Europe and the US remain the key initial target markets for the device, and European trials will be enrolling in coming months.
Mainstay is also building itself up in other areas. It recently boosted its board with the appointment of chairman Oern Stuge, formerly in charge of Medtronic’s neurological and spinal division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and non-executive David Brabazon, an experienced executive in the Irish life sciences sector who has worked in Elan and was a founder of Azur Pharma (now Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and, subsequently, specialty pharma group Adapt Pharma.
The scale of the opportunity? Assuming the trials confirm the feasibility results – which, among other things, had 45 per cent of people off work on disability when they started the therapy returning to the jobs by its conclusion – Crosby said he’s not worried about running out of a potential market.