New deal makes HealthTech Connex exclusive provider of PoNS device

MS patients in Vancouver must buy device from HTC for next 5 years

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by Mary Chapman |

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An agreement with Helius Medical Technologies has made HealthTech Connex (HTC) the exclusive provider, for at least the next five years, of the noninvasive Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS) device in the Vancouver area of British Columbia in Canada.

The new deal supplants an earlier clinical research and promotions pact between HTC and Helius, the producer of the PoNS device. The device is designed to improve walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have impaired gait.

The contract grants health technology company HTC the exclusive right to buy, market, and distribute the device specifically in the metropolitan Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions. It will last five years, with the possibility of an extension to 10 years. The agreement is subject to established minimums.

“HTC has been an important partner for Helius and we are delighted to extend this valuable collaboration,” Dane Andreeff, Helius’ president and CEO, said in a company press release.

“PoNS is the perfect fit for HTC’s leading-edge neurorehabilitation clinics and this agreement will allow Helius to establish a strong presence in the greater Vancouver area while continuing to help HTC empower patients who suffer from gait and balance impairment improve their daily lives,” Andreeff said.

The PoNS device, to be used in conjunction with exercise, is approved as a short-term treatment — lasting 14 weeks, or about 3.5 months — to improve walking difficulties in people with mild to moderate MS symptoms. In the U.S., the device is only indicated for individuals 22 years and older, but there’s no age limit for who can use PoNS in Canada.

PoNS is the perfect fit for HTC’s leading-edge neurorehabilitation clinics and this agreement will allow Helius to establish a strong presence in the greater Vancouver area while continuing to help HTC empower patients who suffer from gait and balance impairment improve their daily lives.

The device consists of a mouthpiece that’s linked by a cord to a controller worn around the neck. When placed on the tongue, the mouthpiece sends electrical signals that reach the brain via two cranial nerves that run through the tongue.

These electrical signals are believed to promote neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to rewire itself following new experiences. The belief is that improving neuroplasticity could heighten the benefits of physical rehabilitation for MS patients with walking difficulties.

“We’re thrilled to announce the collaboration with Helius that gives HTC exclusive rights to purchase, market, sell, and distribute Helius’s PoNS device throughout the metropolitan Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions of British Columbia,” said Kirk Fisher, HTC CEO.

“This will allow HTC to continue providing groundbreaking treatment using the PoNS device to make a positive impact in the lives of countless people in British Columbia,” Fisher added.

Helius last month presented the device’s benefits at the annual American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting and provided training to interested physical therapists for the treatment of MS. Those interested in becoming registered PoNS instructors also can do so online.

PoNS is also authorized for sale to healthcare professionals in Australia, for short-term use in exercise programs for patients.

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