Device Promises to Tackle Painkiller Addiction


A startup called Neuralace Medical aims to create medical devices to treat chronic pain to replace painkillers / Photo by Getty Images


There is an issue of addiction and abuse running rampant in the US. This has been the subject of debate with regard to regulation and how institutions should go about helping people who suffer from this disease. In recent news, Shiv Shukla brought home $50,000 in funding for his startup called Neuralace Medical, which attempts to tackle the issue of dependency on painkillers. This development has been viewed as an important step towards helping people in the US where, unlike other regions of the world, many of these addictive drugs like Xanax are easier to come by.

Shukla presented his idea a few days ago during the annual John G. Watson Quick Pitch competition to a crowd of around 500 people. With only two minutes to make his case, he managed to send his message clear to the panelists despite visible signs of stage fright due to the gravity and problematic nature of the issues his startup aimed to address. Neuralace focuses on creating medical devices that treat chronic pain caused by physical trauma resulting from incidents such as a car accident or injury to the head. The device works by stimulating damaged nerves with magnetic pulses to try to re-enable the nerves to manage the pain. This is meant to be placed in areas like pain clinics where patients can acquire this treatment, but less and less as time goes on. This long term treatment for pain does not need addictive and dangerous painkillers that can cause harmful side effects if taken too long. More than two-thirds of the 72,000 deaths in the US last year were due to opioids. If the epidemic isn’t stopped in any way, this number could rise. Susie Harborth, an investor at BioInnovation Capital and a judge at Quick Pitch, stated, “Neuralace is working on an important area of medical need... We thought the data they showed where patients reduced pain and were off opioids were very compelling.”

Currently, the company has closed more than $1.1 million in friends and family as well as a seed round led by FusionX Ventures. Shukla said that he will use the money from Quick Pitch to help fund clinical trials for his new device, stating, “We don’t need the trial for FDA clearance, but I think we’ll need it for adoption.”