Neuronetics Company Research Proposal

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Neuronetics, Inc.

Neuronetics, Inc. is a privately held maker and distributor of medical devices for non-invasive procedures. Devices that use MRI-strength magnetic field pulses for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders are their key focus. Their key accomplishment is the development of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy as a means to modulate neurons in the head as a treatment major depression and other related psychological disorders. The following outlines the competitive outlook for the company, as well as outlines a comprehensive business strategy for expanding the existing market.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) works by changing the magnetic fields in the brain. This stimulates brain activity, which can help to treat a variety of conditions, such as major depression. Research is currently underway to determine if magnetic fields may be useful in other neurological disorders as well (Fitzgerald, Fountain, & Daskalakis, 2006). The topic of TMS has drawn considerable attention from academic researchers. Numerous studies exist that document the physical effects of the treatment on the brain and neurons. Evidence of the effects of TMS on brain activity is supported by MRI observation (Fitzgerald, Fountain, & Daskalakis, 2006). TMS technology is the basis for the product line of TMS stimulators currently being marketed by Neuronetics.

Strengths

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The key strength that Neuronetics Inc. has over the competition is that is currently has the only TMS device that has FDA approval. The NeuroStar TMS has passed FDA safety and efficacy tests. It can now be made available for distribution in the United States. Neuronetics is the first company to gain approval for a device of this kind. Academic support for this type of device is well established. However, the NeuroStar TMS is the first device that passed FDA approval.

Research Proposal on Neuronetics Company Assignment

Being first on the market gives Neuronetics, Inc. And the NeuroStar TMS device a decided advantage over competition that may enter into competition at a later time. Neuronetics has the ability to set the initial price of the machines and to be the first to develop clinical practices surrounding them. Their key strength is the ability to build brand equity and become associated as having the first of these devices. Proper marketing of the device means that the Neuronetics name can become associated with cutting edge technology, which will make the introduction of future devices easier because customers already recognize the name.

Neuronetics, Inc. is an expanding company with nearly unlimited expansion potential. The NeuroStar TMS is only the first device that this company intends to market. They have some major investors supporting their research. They have sufficient backing to continue their marketing, as well as their research and development efforts. Major investors see the venture as a good risk, which also represents a key strength.

Weaknesses

One of the key weaknesses of Neuronetics, Inc. is that the theory behind the machine has been accused of being unable to be proven according to modern clinical standards (Zwillich, 2007). Even though these criticisms are unfounded and the scientific support for the device is overwhelming, the voices of these critics will continue to influence the opinions of the masses. The current lack of support for the device represents a key weakness in the ability to market NeuroStar TMS successfully.

It is expected that this key weakness can be overcome in time, with the distribution of literature that highlights scientific support for the devices. In addition, as the NeuroStar TMS becomes more common in clinical practice, support and enthusiasm for the device will increase. As positive testimonials of patients and clinicians grow, the claims of critics will fade into the distance.

Opportunities

Neuronetics is poised in a position that looks like sea of opportunity. Their device is the only one that has been able to overcome the hurdles of FDA testing. At the current time, no one else can advertise that their device is FDA approved. This represents an enormous opportunity for unbounded expansion. With proper marketing, the benefits of the NeuroStar TMS will practically sell themselves.

The NeuroStar TMS fills a gap and addresses the needs of a group of patients that fell between two categories. Their prescribed pharmaceutical therapy was not working, but their symptoms were not severe enough to warrant more invasive procedures. The NeuroStar TMS represents the answer for patients that previously had absolutely no further solutions available to them. This device fills a major gap in the market for solutions to major depression.

The NeuroStar TMS has received considerable attention in the press. It has received coverage with all of the big players, such as the U.S. News and World Report, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, NBC Washington, Forbes, the Washington Post and the New York Post (Neuronetics, 2009). This level of high-end exposure helps to secure the credibility of the device in the minds of the consumer and in the minds of clinicians. Coverage of this device as a major medical breakthrough represents a key opportunity for the development and solid establishment of the client base.

Threats

Although the theory behind the device has been out for many years, the NeuroStar TMS is the first device of its kind. The opportunities for expansion have already been discussed. However, in addition to the opportunities, being the first device of its kind on the market also represents a key threat. There is a possibility that the market will not accept the device. Negative press is a key threat. If patients and clinicians do not see the expected results, there is chance that the device could fail. However, if preliminary results hold true, the threat of this happening is minimal.

As with any new device in a brand new market, the key threat to the continued existence of the company lies in the possibility of competition threatening the market share. Currently, there are only two devices that pose immediate competition to Neuronetics. One is an implantable device that requires invasive surgery. The other is not yet approved by the FDA (Zwillich, 2007). These two devices do not pose a current threat, but if the other non-invasive device is approved it could pose a threat to the success of Neuronetics. At the current time, Neuronetics has a monopoly on the market. Competition could change the dynamics of the market for TMS devices.

As the popularity and success of the NeuroStar TMS grow, it is likely that copycat devices will begin to appear on the market. These devices represent a major threat to the ability to sustain an expanding market share. Entry into the market requires a considerable amount of capital. In addition, the new company would have to obtain their patent and approval from the FDA in order to pose a real threat. Devices that are not approved by the FDA pose no real threat. They cannot be used in a clinical setting, and the clinicians cannot be reimbursed by insurance for their use. These two barriers present major obstacles for the entry of competition into the marketplace, but they are also not impossible. It is likely that as the popularity of the NeuroStar TMS grows, Neuronetics will face some form of competition. It is the price of success.

Business Strategy

The NeuroStar TMS stands to become a popular medical device for a group of patients that currently has no solution for their treatment-resistant major depression. It currently stands at the apex of success. The company has product that is innovative and represents at new treatment procedure that is based on solid evidence. They are first on the market and have already demonstrated success in one of the largest clinical trials in the nation.

The key to the company's success lies in forward thinking and the ability to build a sustainable future. Competition will eventually enter the market and the company must have a vision that can see into this reality. Company strategy should not only focus on rapidly gaining customers, they should focus on maintaining quality and the ability to continue to expand in the near and distant future. Developing a strategy that will carry the company into the sustainable future that they desire will require a staged process. This strategy will allow the company to make immediate, medium term, and long-range plans for the future. The following outlines a marketing strategy that will serve the needs of the company well into the future.

Phase One

This stage represents the current stage of the company. They just obtained permission to market a device, which is the first of its kind on the market. They have began selling the devices and are beginning to see sales. This is a critical time in the business strategy. The company needs to remain focused more on quality than sales. It is essential that these initial customers are happy and that they see results. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool at this stage of the game. It is important to sell units, but it is more important to build loyal, satisfied customers. This philosophy is the only one that will ensure… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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