When the executives at Waltham-based NeuroMetrix started selling their Quell pain-reduction device last year, one of their big goals was to get it on the shelves of a major mass-market retailer.
Now they can take that one off the to-do list.
NeuroMetrix finalized an agreement with Target Corp. this week that will place the device, which uses electrical pulses to curb chronic pain, in at least 500 of Target's nearly 1,800 US stores, starting next month.
The device sells for $249, and users need to subsequently spend about a $30 month to replace the electrode pads that transmit electrical pulses to the skin.
"The company has secured a significant milestone by securing a deal with its first retail distribution company," said Thomas Higgins, the company's chief financial officer.
NeuroMetrix which employs about 45 people and reported $7.3 million in revenue last year, is in the midst of a big shift, pivoting from diagnostic tools sold to doctors to this pain-control product, primarily sold directly to consumers. Higgins said sales representatives are also reaching out to health care practitioners, such as chiropractors and podiatrists, to work on selling Quell products through them.
The next big goal: to land a major pharmacy chain. Higgins is hopeful about having progress on that front soon.
Higgins said the electrical pulses work in essentially the same way as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, a longstanding treatment method used in medical offices. Quell, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is a portable, consumer-friendly alternative, he said.
The device, worn on a black sleeve around the leg, just below the knee, sends electrical pulses through the skin to prompt the brain to release chemicals that suppress pain. The user can adjust the intensity with a smartphone.
Higgins concedes it doesn't work for everyone, which is why the company offers a 60-day window to return the product at no cost.