Medtronic has seen its pain stimulation sales slip in recent quarters, but that could be about to change.
The company just received a CE mark for its Intellis platform for both spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) as an aid in the management of certain types of chronic pain. This clearance to sell Intellis in Europe follows FDA approval of the Intellis SCS in September.
The platform has a lot going for it, including its size. According to Medtronic, this is the world's smallest fully implantable SCS neurostimulator. The device is designed to simplify and improve the patient experience with improved battery performance that can power Medtronic's recently launched Evolve workflow. The Intellis platform is managed on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet interface and can record and track patient activity around the clock, the company said.
"Pain stimulation has been declining in the mid single-digits, even a little higher over the last couple of quarters," said Geoff Martha, president of Medtronic's restorative therapies group, during the company's earnings call in August.
Not only is Intellis the smallest of its kind on the market, Martha said it's 40% smaller than Medtronic's current implantable rechargeable system. It will also recharge about 75% faster than the current device, he said. The battery can be fully recharged, from empty to full, in about an hour, the company said.
"And you combine that with our Evolve workflow that we launched a few quarters ago, which is definitely helping us," Martha said. "I think that will stabilize this business."
He also noted that Medtronic will continue to invest in new stimulation patterns, which the Intellis platform will be able to handle.
Given the current health crises involving prescription pain medication abuse, neurostimulation devices like Intellis have the potential to make a critical impact on the management of certain types of chronic pain.
The first European Intellis patient received the device at the Pain Clinic of AZ Nikolaas Hospital in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. The procedure was performed by Iris Smet, MD.
"Chronic pain is a complex disease that is challenging to manage. The innovations behind the Intellis platform translate into meaningful patient benefits and ease of use for physicians, which represent important advantages over other neurostimulators," Smet said. "I want to restore my patient's health improve their quality of life. The innovation behind the Intellis platform allows me to achieve that and help a broad range of patients."