Myomo: Offering Myoelectric Orthotics

Myomo is a Cambridge, Massachusetts based startup that specializes in offering myoelectric orthotics to those with neurological disorders including neuromuscular conditions resulting from a stroke, ALS, brain or spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or brachial plexus injury.

The Myomo technology was first established at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in partnership with medical specialists from Harvard Medical School. The company’s first device was the e100 System approved by the FDA back in 2007, followed by the mPower 1000 myoelectric system in 2012. The same year (2012) also saw the introduction of the third generation of Myomo’s MyoPro custom fit orthosis.

Myomo’s technology works on the basis of sensors attached to the arm braces that it offers. Typically, those affected by strokes or other afflictions with similar consequences, suffer from particularly weak muscles and nerve signals. This renders the affected limbs to be partially paralyzed. Once Myomo’s arm braces are attached, picking up nerve signals becomes much easier. These nerve signals in turn switch on a motor near the elbow that puts the brace into motion, letting users to flex their arms with ease.

Eventually – in line with the mission of the company, those afflicted by neuromuscular disability can perform basic functions at home, at the workplace or in the community, once they have the arm brace attached. Thus reduced healthcare costs and a vastly improved quality of life are the primary value propositions offered by Myomo.

The management team at Myomo is led by Paul R. Gudonis as its CEO with Steve Kelly serving as its Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer. Both Paul and Steve are core members of the Board of Directors at Myomo as well.

Interest and awareness around Myomo has been significant within a fairly short time frame. This in turn has helped Myomo to garner funding for itself with reasonable ease. In 2013 it raised $7 million, which was followed by $1.7 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015. Nashville based Mountain Group Capital a prominent venture capital firm specializing in medical devices and technology investments has been the frontrunner in most investments made in Myomo till date.

This is after initial hiccups faced by the company when sales weren’t to the level that was expected; for instance, back in 2009, only three medical centers across the United States had actually purchased its devices. This straightaway led to a situation where Myomo had to drastically cut back on costs, reducing its staff by 66 percent and also adapting a business model that was more inclined to the virtual.

Current trends though clearly point towards a massive comeback where both sales and funding have come with ease. This has also led to numerous partnerships that Myomo has formed with relevant entities. For instance, in May 2015, Myomo partnered with United Spinal Association to raise awareness around the wide range of benefits that came with Myomo’s MyoPro myoelectric upper limb orthosis. Then in July 2015, Myomo partnered with YoungStroke, a nonprofit that strives to create awareness around young adult stroke survivors, addressing their unique needs as well as that of their caregivers.

In conclusion, it must be said that Myomo has an excellent product offering with a potential target group that exceeds millions in the domestic market alone, given the number of Americans afflicted with ALS, multiple sclerosis, brain or spinal cord injury, brachial plexus injury, and strokes. Together with the potential that it has globally for its arm braces, Myomo is clearly poised for prolific growth in ensuing times.

Executive Interview: TypeZero Technologies

Q:  Can you explain what TypeZero is doing?

A:  TypeZero is a healthcare technology company based in Charlottesville that revolutionizes the way the world manages and treats Diabetes. The company’s core technology, the inControl Diabetes Intelligence Platform, consists of a proprietary software “engine” that makes use of mobile electronics to integrate the medical devices used in the treatment of diabetes (Insulin pumps, CGMs and SMBG meters) into an effective, interoperable network that enables safer, more effective blood glucose management.

One of the most powerful implementations of this solution, commonly referred to as “artificial pancreas” technology, transforms a patient’s role in managing his or her blood glucose from hour-to-hour, active decision-making and modification to periodic supervision of a trustworthy, automated, and intelligent closed-loop system. In addition to its Artificial Pancreas software platform, TypeZero is developing a suite of cloud based applications and analytical services, which utilize its core algorithms to provide risk analysis, prediction, clinician advice, patient support and training for patients, caregivers, clinicians and insurers.

TypeZero’s team coalesced while developing the world’s most advanced research-focused  “artificial pancreas” program at UVA’s Center for Diabetes Technology.

All of TypeZero’s technologies are designed to empower patients, clinicians, and caregivers by dramatically improving glycemic control.  By successfully delivering on this goal TypeZero can practically eliminate the human and economic costs associated with the diabetes epidemic, which accounts for more than $240 billion in health care costs annually in the U.S. alone.

TypeZero’s business model reflects the flexibility of its core technology, combining direct revenues from applications and service subscriptions, royalties from partner products and white-labeled data services.

Q:  When and how did your company get its start?

A:  TypeZero was founded in 2013 when Chad Rogers, a serial entrepreneur in the software and medical device industry, was introduced to a number of leaders at UVA’s Center for Diabetes Technology (CDT).  Dr. Kovatchev, Dr. Patek, Dr. Breton and Dr. Keith-Hynes, the inventors of TypeZero’s technology assets and intellectual property, had spent more than a decade working on advancing the field of diabetes management, most specifically Artificial Pancreas (AP) solutions.  The founding team recognized the incredible progress made from more than 7 years of clinical trials in this field and the maturity of the software platform and decided to revolutionize the treatment and management of diabetes by starting a new company to commercialize this groundbreaking research.

Core technology is based on 10+ years of research and development at the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology.

Stats:

  • NIH, JDRF, UVA, Helmsley, and others have invested more than $12.5 million
  • Technology has been subject to over 134,000 hours of human clinical trials with over 425 patients
  • 24 FDA-approved IDE trials at 9 sites worldwide
  • 18 patents issued or pending

Q:  What are your visions for TypeZero over the next 5-10 years?

A:  First, we need to ensure that our diabetes management technology works seamlessly with all devices currently available in the market in order to provide end-users the choice to select the devices they desire based on their very own lifestyle. Fulfilling this goal will require strong partnerships with current device makers and standardization of data management standards, all of which requires a coordinated and combined effort from everyone involved in the industry.

Second, we seek to extend the flexibility of our capabilities to also cater to Type 2 Diabetic patients. This will require us to work together with existing payors to tackle the growing challenge of Type 2 and helping improve patient lifestyle through actionable data analytics.

Finally, we believe that we are merely scratching the surface of what data management and processing can do for healthcare. We will continue to research and develop our technological capabilities to cover a wider range of chronic diseases, with the aim to improve healthcare management.

Q:  Are you currently raising capital?

A:  To date, TypeZero has raised seed capital and been awarded an SBIR Phase 1 grant and can leverage more than $20 million of NIH funding to run future clinical trials but in order to capitalize on this opportunity TypeZero will need to raise its Series A.  The company is looking close its Series A in fall 2015 and is looking to close approximately $5.0 million to produce the first commercially viable version of its inControl Diabetes Intelligence Platform.

Q:  Do you have any additional comments?

A:  Anyone wishing to contact TypeZero for investment opportunities should contact Chad Rogers, CEO at rogers@typezero.com.