Northstar was founded in 1999 as Vertis Neuroscience headquartered in Seattle, WA, and the original goal was to develop electrical stimulation for chronic back pain. In 2003, under its new name, Northstar Neuroscience, then developed the Renova cortical stimulation system to deliver targeted electrical stimulation to the brain cortex as a treatment for stroke-related upper extremity.
In May 2006 Northstar Neuroscience completed a $113.9 million IPO. However, in January of 2008 Northstar announced that its EVEREST pivotal trial evaluating cortical stimulation to improve hand and arm function in stroke survivors failed. The EVEREST trial was designed to determine whether cortical stimulation in conjunction with rehabilitation therapy would lead to greater gains in hand and arm function and activities of daily living than rehabilitation therapy alone.
Following the failure of the trial, Northstar tried to regroup by cutting costs and switching its priority to using the device to treat severe depression. However, under pressure from stockholders, Northstar closed on July 2, 2009.