Cerbomed GmbH, located in Erlangen, Germany, was founded in 2005 to develop transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (t-VNS®) neuromodulation systems.
Surgically accessing the Vagus Nerve is not trivial, and implanting a VNS system involving cuff electrodes is risky and recovery is lengthy. Enter t-VNS, which is delivered non-invasively to the auricular branch of the vagus nerve (ABVN), making it an attractive therapy option when compared to implantable vagus nerve stimulators.
The NEMOS tVNS system consists of a handheld stimulator and a dedicated ear electrode, which patients wear like an earphone. According to Cerbomed, intensity, pulse duration and frequency of the t-VNS stimulation have been optimized to induce signals in thick-myelinated Aβ fibres of the ABVN. Like those of the cervical branch of the vagus nerve, these project directly to the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) in the brainstem.
In 2010 Cerbomed received the CE mark for its NEMOS® transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulator for the treatment of epilepsy and depression. In 2012, the indication was expanded to include the treatment of pain.
In September 2012, Cerbomed entered into a strategic partnership with Cyberonics, Inc., the global market leader in vagus nerve stimulation. Cyberonics made an initial investment of €2 million to fund Cerbomed’s epilepsy clinical trial in Germany, with further investments of up to €5.5 million, subject to the achievement of certain clinical milestones. Cyberonics is a minority shareholder with certain rights, including representation on Cerbomed’s advisory board and an exclusive option for worldwide sales and distribution of NEMOS.