It has been a little over a year since Axonics released its “Find Real Relief” TV ad campaign for overactive bladder and incontinence issues, and the company’s annual performance numbers are in. Axonics reported a 2022 revenue of $273.7 million, an increase of 52 percent compared to 2021. The company’s CEO Raymond W. Cohen said in a recent news release that “We continue to make progress on several key initiatives, including our direct-to-consumer advertising campaign.” The direct-to-consumer TV commercials for Axonics Therapy have certainly helped the company establish its reputation in the non-drug incontinence therapy space.
Around 87 million adults in the US and Europe have overactive bladder and it is estimated that an additional 40 million adults have fecal incontinence.
What is Axonics Therapy?
Axonics, a leading global medical device company based in Southern California, has innovative sacral neuromodulation (SNM) systems that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Their implantable neural stimulation systems are designed to help patients suffering from urinary retention, overactive bladder and chronic fecal incontinence. By applying electrical stimulation to the sacral nerves, Axonics Therapy activates or inhibits the effector organs innervated by these nerves, including the bladder, urinary and anal sphincters, pelvic floor and recto-sigmoid colon. This therapy is easy to use, safe and clinically effective, helping patients restore their urinary and bowel control.
Axonics Therapy TV Commercials: “Find Real Relief”
In April 2022, the first Axonics TV commercial titled “Find Relief: Jill” was launched, showcasing one of Axonics’ patients named Jill. The 28-second ad highlights the benefits of the advanced technology, which Jill says helped overcome her overactive bladder issues and “get her life back.”
Within a month, another TV spot from Axonics featuring a real-life patient called Melissa was released, where she shared her positive experience with Axonics in managing her urinary and bowel control problems caused by overactive bladder and incontinence. The ad continued to attract viewers’ attention.
FDA-Approved Axonics Therapies
Axonics has recently launched two SNM implantable neurostimulators (INS).
The Axonics R20 has received FDA approval in January of this year. It is an easy-to-use system that is equipped with a rechargeable battery that can last for at least 20 years, offering long-lasting therapy to patients. It has a volume of only five cubic centimeters and requires recharging every six to ten months for one hour, reducing the frequency of battery recharging compared to previous-generation devices that require monthly recharging.
“Patients with overactive bladder tell us that first and foremost, they value efficacy and a long-lived solution to address their chronic condition. The Axonics R20, which requires recharging just twice per year, represents another significant breakthrough for rechargeable neuromodulation devices and underscores our commitment to continuous innovation,” said John Woock, PhD, executive vice president, chief marketing and strategy officer of Axonics, in the company’s news release.
The Axonics F15, on the other hand, is a truly recharge-free system with a volume of only ten cubic centimeters, 20 percent smaller than other non-rechargeable SNM devices on the market. It has a ten-to-twenty-year battery life, which eliminates the need for any element of the system to be recharged.
“The new Axonics F15 recharge-free SNM system is similarly groundbreaking – a small and thin INS with an expected life in the body of well over a decade that does not require any element of the system to be recharged – and sets a new standard for what is possible in this category,” said Raymond W. Cohen, chief executive officer of Axonics, in a press release.
Both Axonics F15 and Axonics R20 deliver constant current stimulation that helps patients maintain the right amount of therapy.
How is Axonics Installed?
The Axonics system is implanted into a patient’s body to provide gentle stimulation to the nerves that control the bladder and bowel.
Firstly, a doctor will perform an evaluation to see whether Axonics Therapy is right for the patient. If the patient is a suitable candidate, their doctor will perform a minimally invasive surgery to place the device just beneath the skin in the upper part of the patient’s buttock. Normally only local anesthesia is used, and the whole procedure typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.
How Effective is Axonics?
Axonics Therapy has been extensively studied in clinical trials conducted globally, with strong evidence of its safety and efficacy.
In the ARTISAN-SNM study, 129 patients were recruited across 19 centers, with 14 in the US and five in Western Europe to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Axonics Therapy for urinary dysfunction. Results at two years showed that 93 percent of implanted patients experienced a 50 percent or greater reduction in urge urinary incontinence (UUI) symptoms, and 82 percent of treatment responders had a 75 percent or greater reduction in urgency leaks. Patients treated with Axonics also reported a significant improvement in their quality of life. Over 90 percent of participants were satisfied with the Axonics system, and no serious device-related adverse events were reported.
In another clinical study, the RELAX-OAB study, 51 patients were recruited across seven European centers to evaluate the therapy’s efficacy in the treatment of overactive bladder. Results showed that 90 percent of participants continued to respond to the therapy at two years, and 93 percent of participants were satisfied with the therapy outcome. No serious device-related adverse events were reported.
These studies demonstrate the sustained efficacy and safety of Axonics Therapy, supported by its proven durability.
What are the Risks of Axonics?
The Axonics system is not suitable for patients with mechanical urinary obstruction. Patients who do not respond well to test stimulation or are unable to operate the Axonics SNM system may also not be suitable for Axonics Therapy.
While adverse events related to the implantation surgery of the device are possible, there is also a risk of other adverse events such as allergic reactions to the device material, changes in sensation, bowel or bladder function, device malfunction, pain or irritation, infection and more. It is important for patients to discuss the potential risks and benefits of Axonics Therapy with their healthcare provider.
How Much Does Axonics Therapy Cost?
The average price of Axonics Therapy is estimated to be between $30,000 and $40,000. Most insurances cover this therapy.
What Other Companies Offer Non-Drug Incontinence Therapy
Medtronic, an American medical device company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also leads the market in SNM systems. Its InterStim system has demonstrated clinical effectiveness in improving bowel and bladder control. Similar to Axonics therapy, the InterStim system restores the neural communication between the bladder and brain and between the bowel and brain. A clinical study demonstrated sustained efficacy of SNM by the InterStim system for patients with overactive bladder, with 80 percent of participants reporting significant improvement in their conditions at one year.
In February 2022, Medtronic received FDA approval for their InterStim X, the next generation of the most personalized SNM therapy for bowel and bladder control.
According to MarketWatch, the global sacral nerve stimulation device market is expanding because of the growing awareness of treatment options, the increasing prevalence of pelvic floor disorders and the rising demand for minimally invasive surgical procedures.