Brainsway sees growth in depression treatment, looks to new areas

By Ari Rabinovitch JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli medical device maker Brainsway expects strong growth following the launch of its treatment of depression and hopes to access new markets once its system finishes trials in treating a number of other diseases. Brainsway developed a helmet that shoots magnetic pulses into the brain of patients with neurological disorders. The pulses stimulate neurons and improve function in the affected areas, the company says. This method, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation, is like a tamer, safer and more precise version of electro-shock therapy and has been used for years. Brainsway says its technology is unique because it can penetrate deeper than any other non-invasive method being used, allowing it to target areas of the brain that were until now unreachable. The company has installed over 70 of its units, mostly in the United States, and on Tuesday reported that 2013 revenue grew to 4.29 million shekels ($1.23 million) from 1.36 million in 2012. Net loss from regular operations in 2013 narrowed to 15.41 million shekels from 21.22 million. The company raised $11.8 million this month to boost production lines. "We hope this trend will continue and even get stronger," Chief Executive Uzi Sofer told Reuters in an interview. "The company is aiming for thousands of installations for different diseases in the future." Brainsway received Federal Drug Administration approval last year for treating patients with major depression disorder. Other trials are underway for fighting diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, addictions, and stress and eating disorders. Sofer said he is already optimistic about a study being done at Harvard University on whether Brainsway's system can help with epilepsy. Ronen Segal, chief technical officer, said "many of the big players in this market, including medical device companies and even pharmaceutical companies" have taken notice and that there is potential for collaboration in areas like distribution and research and development. (Editing by Tova Cohen)