Digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care triple-unicorn Hinge Health today announced the upcoming acquisition of Enso, the maker of an eponymous non-invasive electrical nerve stimulation device for pain relief.
Hinge Health did not disclose the terms of the deal or its impact on Enso employees, but a representative told MobiHealthNews that the purchase is set to close "within weeks."
The Enso device is placed on a user's body with an adhesive gel pad. Once activated using a companion app interface, the wireless device delivers high-frequency impulse therapy and adjusts its stimulation patterns to the individual over time.
According to a product page, the average person with chronic pain will use the rechargeable device about four hours per day for full-day pain relief. It shouldn't be used above the neck or by those who are pregnant, have severe epilepsy or have any type of electronic implant, according to the page.
“We’ve spent almost a decade developing Enso’s high-frequency impulse technology to deliver unparalleled, non-invasive pain relief," Shaun Rahimi, Enso's founder and CEO, said in a statement. "It’s so exciting to work with Hinge Health to advance our original mission to offer this technology to the millions of people in need of relief."
WHAT'S THE IMPACT
Enso is already available on the market and was "used by thousands" prior to the acquisition, a representative said.
Per the announcement, Hinge's plan is to bundle that device as part of its Digital MSK Clinic offering for employer clients, where it will be available to members with no additional out-of-pocket cost. The company expects the offering to provide immediate pain management, citing a clinical trial Enso conducted in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco. Here, participants reported a 56% average reduction in pain, with approximately nine out of 10 reporting clinically effective pain relief.
Enso, Hinge said, stands to be an appealing value-add for employers and health plans seeking an alternative to addictive opioid pain therapies. According to the product page, Enso is also already covered nationally for workers' compensation insurers as well as Veterans Affairs hospitals – the former of which Hinge said it will "continue investments" into.
“Enso’s immediate, clinically validated pain relief complements our existing motion sensor technology and comprehensive clinical team," Dr. Jeffrey Krauss, chief medical officer at Hinge Health, said in a statement.
THE LARGER TREND
Hinge Health stood in the spotlight earlier this year when it announced its $300 million Series D and $3 billion valuation. Following a year of substantial growth, CEO and cofounder Daniel Perez said at the time that the company would be aiming to deepen its clinical capabilities while pursuing new partnerships within the Medicare Advantage space. Not too long after, the company refreshed its executive team with a new president, COO and CFO.
But Hinge is seeing plenty of competition creeping into the hot MSK space. Chronic disease management platforms Omada and DarioHealth each bought into the virtual MSK space with M&A deals during the past year. At the same time, other platforms or virtual MSK care services like Sword Health, Kaia Health, Sparta Science and (most recently) SpineZone have each claimed the attention of investors during the last year or so.
Enso also isn't alone in below-the-neck pain relief wearables. Oska Wellness raised a few million dollars back in 2019 for its similar-sounding device, for instance, while others such as NeuroMetrix have had a difficult time marketing the devices to consumers over the years.