Via News Release
“Eden Prairie, MINN. (May 4, 2018) – Richard Nigon and Kevin H. Roche, prominent leaders in the Twin Cities medical technology industry, have joined the RxFunction, Inc. board of directors.
RxFunction, Inc. is a wearable technology company that created walkasins® – the first Wearable Sensory Prosthesis (WSP™) – to help improve balance and gait in patients who experience balance problems due to sensory peripheral neuropathy.”
Richard Nigon is senior vice president of Cedar Point Capital, Inc., a private company that raises capital for early stage companies, where he has served since 2007. Prior to joining the company, Nigon held C-Suite positions in finance and investments at Miller Johnson Steichen Kinnard, Dantis, Inc., and Ernst & Young LLP. He is a director of Tactile Systems Technology Inc., Northern Technologies International Corporation and Celcuity, Inc., and was previously a director at Vascular Solutions. Nigon also currently serves as a director at several private companies.
Kevin H. Roche, former general counsel of UnitedHealth Group, is the founder and former CEO of the Ingenix division of the health insurance provider (now Optum Insight). After he retired from UnitedHealth Group, Roche spent several years assisting emerging growth companies as an investor, advisor and board member. He also serves as a senior advisor for Triple Tree, LLC, and currently serves as a director for several private healthcare companies. Roche also serves on the board of directors of Tactile Systems Technology Inc., a public medical device company.
“Richard Nigon and Kevin Roche bring tremendous experience to our board in developing and growing medical device companies,” said Tom Morizio, RxFunction CEO. “Their expertise will help guide us as we prepare for market launch through Federal Drug Administration (FDA) registration, build an organization ready to commercialize the technology, and initiate our next clinical trial.”
Walkasins® was created to help improve balance in patients who experience gait and mobility problems due to peripheral neuropathy, a disorder where the nerves in the feet are damaged causing numbness. This can lead to loss of balance function and increase the risk of falls. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of peripheral neuropathy, commonly a consequence of diabetes and chemotherapy, and widely present in the elderly population.
Walkasins® consists of a thin sensor-instrumented Foot Pad placed in the shoe that measures changes in foot pressure reflecting the patient’s state of balance. The Foot Pad connects to a Leg Unit that contains a micro-processor and a proprietary algorithm that activates vibrator motors placed around the leg to provide new tactile balance cues to the patient. Leaning too far in any one direction triggers a vibration on that side of the leg signaling to the brain to correct balance. Patients can then better sense where their feet are on the ground helping them to improve balance and mobility.
Development of walkasins® has been supported by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (AG040865).
A recent clinical trial of walkasins® at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis, demonstrated short-term immediate effects of walkasins® use on functional balance and walking speed. These findings help identify patients who most benefit from using walkasins®, which is important when walkasins® becomes available for prescription.
About RxFunction, Inc.
RxFunction is a wearable technology company with an initial focus on developing and leading a new business segment within the U.S. medical grade assistive technology marketplace. The company’s vision is to improve physical ability and quality of life for patients with sensory peripheral neuropathy at high risk of falling. Privately held and headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, RxFunction created walkasins® building upon patented technology developed by co-founder Dr. Lars Oddsson as a research professor at Boston University’s Neuromuscular Research Center. Walkasins® has not been submitted to the FDA for review and is not available for sale at this time. Walkasins® is manufactured in Minnesota.