10:40pm Sunday 12 July 2020

Startup based on Purdue innovation could improve stimulation treatments for patients with chronic pain


Matthew P. Ward of Drug Free Therapeutix LLC conducts research on the company’s technology, which could increase the quality of life for patients who suffer from chronic pain. Drug Free Therapeutix is one of more than 20 startups created in fiscal year 2014 from Purdue University innovations. (Purdue Research Foundation photo) Download Photo

Matthew P. Ward, Ph.D., founder and chief science officer at Drug Free Therapeutix LLC, said these patients may elect to undergo neural stimulation treatments that send electric pulses through the nerves to block pain signals before they reach the brain.

“These neural stimulation treatments also are used to treat certain autoimmune inflammatory disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, epilepsy, urinary incontinence and other ailments,” he said. “However, most available treatments must be manually customized over a long period of time to ­offer optimal, patient-centric relief.”

Purdue researchers developed technology that could reduce customization times from more than two years to five minutes or fewer. The technology has been exclusively licensed to Drug Free Therapeutix for chronic pain and related indications through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. More than 20 startups based on Purdue intellectual property were launched in the 2014 fiscal year. A video about Drug Free Therapeutix is available at http://youtu.be/5rFXGgEnppk.

Ward worked on the technology as a doctoral student in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. He said the technology could operate as a standalone product or as a software upgrade for existing, FDA-approved neurostimulators for chronic pain.

“EXACT™, which stands for Extraneural Activation Control Technology, transforms the existing device programming interface from a complicated set of inputs that describe the strength and timing of stimulation to a set of dials that directly control and maintain the quality of pain relief,” he said. “Using devices under EXACT control, patients will for the first time have a way to directly convey their unique and deeply personal experience of pain to the stimulator, teaching it how to best meet their therapeutic needs over time.”

The company is looking to obtain regulatory approval for EXACT™, and then create products and services for medical devices within three to five years. Ward said the company is looking to connect with corporate partners.

“We want to partner with companies whose medical devices help patients who suffer from chronic pain,” he said. “We believe we can help those companies that want to improve performance in that area, but are wary of the time and cost of getting a new device to market.”

Ward complimented the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization and Purdue Foundry in commercializing innovations and encouraging startups and entrepreneurship.

“OTC personnel have been very supportive of new startups, especially those that benefit the greater good in Indiana and the nation. It offers Purdue faculty, staff and students several resources to take innovations to market,” he said. “Purdue Foundry officials are very helpful in directing startups through the challenges that businesses face in their industries. Drug Free Therapeutix is entering a market that some would consider challenging, and the Foundry helps us find resources to address the challenges.”

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit http://www.otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com.

About Drug Free Therapeutix LLC

Drug Free Therapeutix (DFTx) provides intelligent software for medical device companies in or entering the pain management device market. Our platform technology, known as Extraneural Activation Control Technology (EXACT™), fine-tunes the output of an implanted or external stimulator according to the measured physiological response of a patient to electrical stimulation. EXACT™ can be configured to learn the optimal device settings based on biofeedback alone or with input from the patient and physician. Through carefully crafted partnerships with key pain management device companies, we will offer personalized pain management solutions to the 480 million chronic pain patients around the world whose needs are not adequately addressed with available pharmaceutical or device-based treatment options.

About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university’s academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at [email protected]

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, [email protected]


Source: Matthew P. Ward, 317-432-6886, [email protected] 

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