Spokane Journal of Business

TMS Solutions opens its first Spokane office

Colorado-based company offers depression treatment

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The CEO and co-founder of a company that specializes in using magnetic therapy to treat depression says the company will begin transitioning gradually its corporate headquarters to Spokane from its current location of Grand Junction, Colo.

CEO Christopher Blackburn says Colorado Neuro Health & Wellness LLC, doing business as TMS Solutions, opened an office at 26 E. Fifth, on the periphery of downtown Spokane.

Blackburn says TMS Solutions hopes to open offices in North Spokane and in Spokane Valley later in the year.

TMS Solutions currently has between 20 and 25 employees at its clinics here, and in the Colorado cities of Denver, Fort Collins Grand Junction and in an area south of Denver known as Cherry Creek. 

Of those, four employees are located here.

TMS Solutions, which stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation, began operating 4½ years ago and is still considered a startup company, he says.

TMS Solutions recently secured funding from Spokane venture capitalist and etailz co-founder Tom Simpson after the company made a pitch to investors in the Spokane Angel Alliance. Blackburn says the alliance contributed $800,000 in investment capital.

TMS is a process that uses short, magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain believed to control mood. A treating psychiatrist uses a small, curved device containing magnetic coils to deliver magnetic stimulation to specific areas of a patient’s brain, while that patient is reclined in a chair without sedation.

The roughly 40-minute outpatient procedure is prescribed and performed by a psychiatrist. Treatment is five days per week for six weeks, Blackburn says.

TMS has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients with major depressive disorder and for those who haven’t benefited from prior antidepressant medication, he says.

“It’s amazing technology that has clinical success rate of 80 percent,” Blackburn claims.

Blackburn is a native of Grand Junction but played college soccer at Gonzaga University during the late 1980s into the early ’90s, he says.

Blackburn, who graduated from Gonzaga in 1993, has spent most of his career working as an entrepreneur following seven years he spent as an intelligence officer for a federal organization, which he declines to identify.

Blackburn says he spoke last year to a former college roommate, who still lives in Spokane, and told him he felt “overwhelmed” in his attempts to move TMS Solutions forward.

Blackburn says he then hired his friend, Tim Denniston, as the company’s chief operations officer, and he proposed moving TMS Solutions’ corporate office here to be able to begin the process of networking with staff and personnel at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. 

“Lisa Brown (former WSU Spokane chancellor who is currently running for Congress) really helped to begin opening doors and introduced us to those who could help get the business moving forward while showing a strong interest in this technology,” says Blackburn, who adds that his new operations manager has also solicited and received assistance from Avista Corp.

TMS Solutions also is working with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs representatives in Colorado and Wyoming and has a scheduled appointment with VA representatives in Spokane in the coming weeks, he says.

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