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Spinal Stimulation Start-Up Wins $200K State Award

Spine model

(Michael Dorausch, Flickr)

13 July 2015. PathMaker Neurosystems Inc., a developer of non-invasive devices that stimulate the spinal cord to relieve muscle weakness and paralysis, received a $200,000 award from a Massachusetts science funding agency. The grant was made by Massachusetts Life Sciences Center as part of its life sciences milestone achievement program.

PathMaker’s technology uses electronic current stimulation of the spinal cord and muscles to treat muscle paralysis, spasticity, and weakness often found in disorders such as stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. Unlike other technologies that require surgical implants to deliver the current, PathMaker’s devices deliver electronic stimulation from electrodes placed on the skin at multiple points on the body. Research behind the technology was conducted by Zaghloul Ahmed, a neuroscientist and professor physical therapy at City University of New York, also scientific founder of PathMaker.

Signals from PathMaker devices are sent to muscles through nerve pathways that are damaged, yet still intact. One electrode is placed at a designated position over the spinal cord, while other electrodes are placed at points on the body where muscles require stimulation. The company says preclinical studies with animals and early human feasibility studies indicate the technology can help relieve muscle paralysis and weakness, as well as disorders in muscle tone.

PathMaker is developing two devices for clinical trials. Its lead product is called the MyoRegulator PM-2200 designed to treat muscle spasticity or rigidity, or low muscle tone, often found as symptoms in  stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. A more advanced device, MyoAmplifier PM-3300, is being developed to treat muscle paralysis and weakness associated with these and other neurological disorders.

The company says it plans to apply the $200,000 award to advance the MyoRegulator PM-2200 system to clinical trials. PathMaker, founded in June 2013, also has an office in France, and received an award in 2014 from the Embassy of France in the U.S. under its Young Entrepreneurs Initiative to encourage expansion of start-up enterprises in France.

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is an organization charged with implementing a state-funded investment initiative to support life science innovation and commercialization. Its milestone achievement program finances  early-stage companies in the state facing critical points in their development where a single input of funds can move an enterprise forward.

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