Imec and NeuroGyn AG collaborate on advanced neurostimulation device


Imec (Leuven, Belgium), a leading research and innovation centre in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, announces a collaboration to develop a next-generation implantable device for peripheral nerve stimulation together with NeuroGyn AG, a Swiss medtech company specialised in neurostimulaton and surgical solutions for pelvic nerve disorders. Leveraging the expertise of imec The Netherlands at Holst Centre with respect to ultra-low power wireless communication and powering, the new solution aims at prolonging the lifetime of the device while lowering its cost, making it suitable at the point of need. Clinical validation is planned after the development phase.

Pelvic nerves play an important role in bladder, sexual and bowel function, and movement and sensation in the legs. Injuries in or dysfunction of the pelvic organs nerves can lead to disorders related to these areas with in first line urinary urgencies and overactivities but also potential erectile dysfunction in men. First-line conservative treatments do not always lead to sufficient improvement of the complaints and/or are often associated with disabling adverse effects (with a 60% discontinuation of therapy as a consequence). Neurostimulation in which electrodes deliver current pulses to nerves to change their activity, can provide an effective alternative treatment option for these patients. The current off-the-shelve devices for this therapy, however, are bulky, expensive and have a limited lifetime. The high cost of pelvic neuromodulation makes reimbursement by Medicare extremely difficult, especially in the treatment of functional bladder disorders where the vast majority of patients are elderly or even retired, and makes the treatment unvailable to many patients and in many developing countries.

Imec researchers at Holst Centre are now redesigning the neurostimulator leveraging its advanced miniaturisation technology, in line with the clinical expertise of NeuroGyn AG in this field. The project builds on imec’s expertise in implantable solutions, such as ultra-low power wireless communication and miniature powering, either close to the skin surface or deeper in the body. Imec has a track record in developing radio chips and systems that could be used to make recharging easier. Adding recharging capabilities to the device would improve the lifetime of the implant. Additionally, reducing battery size and implant size is aimed at making the implant minimally invasive and reducing the cost. Imec’s unique toolset for wireless communication and powering of implantables enables the development of customised solutions for medical devices. Taking into account the users and beneficiaries needs, the device can be tailored to facilitate insertion into the body and alignment of the stimulation pathway.

“The new design aims at enabling a smaller, state-of-the-art neurostimulator with advanced capabilities that complements NeuroGyn AG’s patented surgical procedure. The project underlines our vision of making this technology readily available to anyone, including the developing world, by making the device affordable and the implantation procedure feasible by doctors at the point of need,” said Prof Dr Marc Possover, founder and CSO of NeuroGyn AG.

“The collaboration with NeuroGyn AG is the first culmination of our work on human implantables and peripheral nerve stimulation technology and is a great opportunity to design a custom device that takes into account the customer’s clinical expertise,” added Zohaib Gulzar, business development manager, Autonomous Therapeutics.

Caption: Imec and Neurogyn AG collaborate on advanced neurostimulation devices for pelvic nerve disorders. The new solution aims at prolonging the lifetime of the device while lowering its cost, making it suitable at the point of need (photo: imec)

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