Shiv Shukla started as an undergrad volunteering at an opioid recovery clinic, where he discovered that opioid addictions came from chronic pain. Since then, Shiv has taken on Global Goal #3, Good Health and Well-Being.
He developed a technology that addresses pain with non-invasive magnetic pulses. In this episode, find out how the technology works, and what it’s taking for this breakthrough MedTech company to become widely available for impact.
In this episode we cover:
- How the NeuraLace Medical device works and how it’s different than any other solution tackling chronic pain.
- Chronic pain affects 1 in 3 Americans and is severely under-treated.
- The data behind the industry of chronic pain and the opioid epidemic.
- Global Goal #3.5
- A high-level look at the NeuraLace business model and current projects he’s focused on to raise capital.
There are 27 million people in America who deal with moderate to severe chronic pain and have run out of options. Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than three months, where the pain persists when the tissues have already healed. NeuraLace Medical addresses nerve pain patients who are told that they have no options for their pain. These patients become addicted to opioids or become suicidal.
NeuraLace uses magnetic stimulation. When a magnet turns on and off very quickly, you can create a nerve response. Pain is a lack of nerve signal. So when magnets create the signal in the place of the nerve, inflammation and hypersensitivity decrease. The technology tricks the body to forget the pain. Anywhere in your body where you can feel a light touch can be helped by NeuraLace.
“Millions of patients are waking up with pain they think they have to live with for the rest of their life. Every light touch feels like a blowtorch. Then we treat the patients receive their care, they are blown away. They’re dancing. The more I saw that radical quality of life change, and their family’s reaction, I imagine how much time they have now and I know I have to do this,” Shiv says.
Any pain level above a level 3 is the kind that affects your mood and keeps you at home away from people. No one wants to hear you complain, Shiv says, so you isolate and try to care for yourself.
In the pain industry, big Pharma companies are disbanding their sales forces because of the opioid epidemic. They’ve made the most money, but the reality of a 50% chance of addiction to opioids has taken its toll.
Instead of the doctors making decisions about patient’s well being and options, they listen to sales reps. In the 70s, sales reps promised that opioids were not very addictive. Shiv says that’s scary because the sales reps were not trained by physicians, they were trained by businesses that have KPI’s.
“More than 600,000 physicians are licensed to prescribe pain medications. So, it’s not a problem we can solve overnight.”
The Business Model
NeuraLace is not in revenue yet because they are not FDA approved. But, Shiv explains that the easiest way to get people off of opioids is to give them a better option. Here are some of the benefits of NeuraLace:
- Dramatically less side effects than opioids, or no side effects
- The therapy is not addictive
- Patients can receive treatment at the frequency of a haircut and have very little pain in between
- Patients become productive members of society
The first major hurdle for a medical device company is getting regulatory approval. The next is the gap between getting FDA approval to getting insurance backing and payment. Shiv’s team is starting to do beta sites and creating relationships with hospitals.
“We’ve been able to work with the VA, and veterans are the reason we’ve gotten this far. They’re honest and they won’t put up with options that don’t work.” The other place that NeuraLace is starting is with people who have been injured on job sites because they tend to be covered more readily by insurance.
Currently, treatment will be $275 for each session. The goal is for treatments to be subsidized by insurance.
“My goal is to be able to do treatment for a patient for a year for less than $4k. And at that point, insurance companies will pay attention because they will be able to spend a dollar and save nine.”
Shiv talks about roadblocks like scheduling efficiency. Right now, NeuraLace only gets about 4 hours of access per day because of scheduling conflicts. “That’s not something I had considered!” Shiv says.
Their goal for accessibility is to be in every major city in North America so that patients can go in to get their treatment wherever they are.
Shiv says he was raising 2 million, but his advisors said that check size was too small. He heard that from 7 investors and then went back to his board. If an investor has a 150 million dollar fund, they want a 300 million dollar return. They can’t get that return on a 2 million dollar investment. Shiv thought about what the company needed to get to their next milestone, but now he’s thinking about what investors are looking for.
Now, they’re asking for 5 million. The block they face now is that the number of institutional investors in MedTech has significantly declined. There is a lot of fear. NeuraLace is doing something brand new, so the apparent risk to physicians and investors seems unsafe.
“Every time I have to explain this technology to physicians and investors, it blows my mind. They are the thought leaders. I just have data!”
For NeuraLace it’s a constant conversation of answering questions and fulfilling due diligence.
“The biggest thing we need help on right now is getting insurance company data on their cost for chronic pain patients’ over a year. But the companies don’t want to give us this data,” Shiv says.
- Neuralace is tackling big pharma and has to deal with insurance agencies – this is a complex industry! Just to make a difference in a patient’s quality of life, there is so much red tape.
- If you’re interested in getting involved, you can email Shiv@neuralacemedical.coml;