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.

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