Sophono Inc, Boulder, Colo— manufacturer of the Sophono abutment-free, implantable, magnetic bone conduction hearing devices—has announced that the company has entered into a global partnership with Hangzhou Nurotron Biotechnology Co Ltd, Hangzhou, China, a manufacturer of the cochlear implant systems and BTE cochlear speech processors for severe and profound hearing loss sufferers.
“We are very pleased to have entered into this key strategic partnership with Hangzhou Nurotron Biotechnology,” said Markus Haller, MBA, MSEE, president and chairman of Sophono in a press statement. “This partnership creates a strong global leader in the hearing loss marketplace, able to offer patients with profound to severe hearing loss innovative, established, economical alternatives. Nurotron has proven to be a serious participant and rising star in the cochlear implant market with almost 2000 patients implanted and is developing a dominant position in the Chinese market. Sophono’s transcutaneous energy transfer (TET™) bone conduction technology and advanced magnetic hearing loss solutions are a natural fit for Nurotron’s cochlear implant and behind-the-ear hearing systems.”
Sophono’s CEO Peter Ruppersberg, MD, adds, “Nurotron and Sophono have very compatible teams and provide each other with an incredibly broad range of synergistic expertise, global market access, and unique operational opportunities.”
A jointly-owned company, SophonoTron™, has been created to manage several of the commercial activities for the two partners under the joined leadership of Hao Li, SophonTron’s CEO and Dr Ruppersberg as vice-chairman.
“We see a great future for our two companies in working together side-by-side to further our success in the global implantable hearing markets,” says Fangping Li, president and chairman of Nurotron. “Sophono and Nurotron, with joined forces and resources, will be able to advance much faster than its competition in key global markets. Both companies have highly-competitive products in each of their respective hearing implant markets.”
Nurotron has begun offering their cochlear implant in a market that historically was dominated by Cochlear Ltd, based in Australia. “In 2012, Cochlear sold approximately $600 million in cochlear implant devices,” explains Li. “Our partnership with Sophono enables us to offer more economical hearing loss products in this marketplace, including TET-based implantable magnetic bone conduction systems.”
Nurotron Biotechnology was founded in 2006 as an enterprise dedicated to becoming the world’s leading supplier of nerve stimulation electronic products, with headquarters and production facilities in China and an R&D center in Irvine, Calif. The company is currently engaged in developing and manufacturing their multi-channel cochlear implant and has obtained the certificate of registration issued by State Food and Drug Administration in China in 2011.
Sophono is an implantable magnetic hearing device manufacturer founded in 2009 that received FDA clearance for its implant in June of 2011. The company’s TET™ Technology reportedly enables the maximum transfer of energy through the skin to a specially-designed magnetic implant without drilling a hole in the patient’s skull and installing a screw that pokes out through the skin on the side of the head. To date, the company reports that the Sophono System is has been implanted in more than 3200 patients in 38 countries. The company also maintains an office in Germany, works with more than 24 distributors, and is actively selling in more than 40 countries.