2021 in Review
The neurotechnology industry experienced a number of positive developments in 2021 as the world began to dig itself out—perhaps prematurely—from the coronavirus pandemic that froze much of commerce in 2020. Although some scientific and industry conferences went fully virtual or were canceled outright, others, including the LSI Emerging Medtech Summit, the NANS Mid-Year Meeting, and our own Neurotech Leaders Forum, welcomed attendees back in person, albeit alongside virtual attendees. Though virtual meetings can offer a good deal of valuable content, much of the value of industry conferences comes from the ability of attendees to schmooze with other attendees or buttonhole speakers during one of the breaks.
The year was also noteworthy for the continued growth in investment, market activity, and regulatory approvals for neurotech products. Among the most noteworthy product approvals were MicroTransponder’s PMA for its Vivistim VNS system for treating stroke, and Nevro’s PMA for its Senza system for treating painful diabetic neuropathy. Both of these indications represent large potential markets and the introduction of neuromodulation therapy is likely to grease the skids for other vendors looking at that space.
There was a bevy of venture capital investments in neurotech startups in 2021. Some of the larger funding rounds were Neuspera Medical’s $65 million Series C, Ceribel’s $53 million Series C, Synchron’s $40 million Series B, Neuros Medical’s $38.5 million Series B, and SPR Therapeutics $37 million Series D. Even the A rounds were pretty sizable by historical standards: Magnus Medical pulled in $25 million, Rune Labs received $22.8 million, Neuroelectrics got $17.5 million, and INBRAIN Neuroelectronics got €15.5 million.
The largest exit during the year was NeuroPace’s IPO, which brought in $100 million, while European neuroprosthetics firm ONWARD raised €75 million in its IPO. Bioventus acquired Bioness for $45 million plus incentives in 2021 in a deal that many observes thought was undervalued.
The most significant bad news that 2021 brought was probably CMS’ decision to scuttle the MCIT program, at least for now. But that didn’t stop the FDA from issuing additional breakthrough device designations to neurotech firms, including ShiraTronics RF-coupled device for treating migraine, BrainQ’s wearable stroke rehabilitation system, Nesos’ digital health system for treating RA, Nyxoah’s hypoglossal nerve stimulation system for OSA/CCC, Neuroelectrics’ tDCS system for epilepsy, and Functional Neuromodulation’s DBS system for Alzheimer’s.
As we head into 2022, we at Neurotech Reports want to thank all of our readers and supporters for keeping us going for 20+ years. And we hope that the new year brings continued success to our industry.
Editor and Publisher