Custom Software and Hardware to Communicate With Implanted Sensor in Spine

Stellartech, a world leader in the design, development and contract manufacture of sophisticated medical systems, and OrthoMEMS, a medical device company focused on biomedical applications of patented MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) and wireless technology from Cleveland Clinic, today announced a strategic alliance that is set to deliver a groundbreaking, commercial reader for wireless communication with a miniature implanted sensor in the spine. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will begin immediately on the design and development of a custom external reader device for non-invasively reading measurements made by the OrthoChip, a miniature, battery-less, wireless pressure sensor that will provide an objective measurement of spinal disc pressures. The OrthoChip is designed to detect clear-cut pressure differences between normal and mechanically unstable spinal segments and to communicate the results telemetrically to a read-out unit. This new capability is expected to significantly alter indications for surgery and non-surgical treatments. No other technology, existing or emerging, provides this advantage.

For Stellartech, the partnership leverages its core expertise in medical devices that utilize radiofrequency energy, and expands its manufacturing with a revolutionary new biomedical product. For OrthoMEMS, the alliance creates instant critical mass in product development and contract manufacturing with a market leader, and a clear path to market for a key component of its wireless pressure sensing system.

As the leading cause of adult disability, spine conditions are widespread. An estimated 26 million people per year in the United States alone report back pain severe enough to seek relief from a physician. $90 Billion, or 1% of the US gross domestic product, was spent on back pain in 1998.

“OrthoMEMS has assembled a world class team to propel its patented technology forward, and its clinical application in spine has the potential to change the standard of care. Our deep experience in the core scientific and engineering principles underlying this application will allow us to add significant value at every stage of product and market development,” stated Roger A. Stern, Ph.D, President & CEO of Stellartech.

“Stellartech is a natural partner for us because of its strong reputation in the development and manufacture of complex radiofrequency systems. This partnership completes our development team and secures the resources necessary to maximize the commercial impact of our innovative spine product,” said Douglas Lee, Chairman and CEO of OrthoMEMS.

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