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Among all of the startups emerging in the brain health space, some of the most exciting are those developing brain–computer interfaces (BCI), which allow people to control machines using their thoughts.
This is still an emerging space, with probably the best known of these companies being Elon Musk's Neuralink, but they have the opportunity to have a major impact on the lives of people living with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, which affects nearly 100 million people in the U.S. alone. For example, BCIs can help people with paralysis regain control of their limbs, and just this week it was reported that a team of Stanford scientists tested a new BCI that can decode speech at up to a record 62 words per minute.
Precision Neuroscience Corporation, a BCI company developing implants that are designed to be high-resolution, minimally invasive, and reversible, announced on Wednesday that it raised a $41 million Series B funding round, bringing its total capital to $53 million.
Precision’s implant, called the Layer 7 Cortical Interface, is described as being like a strip of flexible, thin film material, which the company likens to a piece of Scotch tape, but "with a thickness that is 1/5th that of a human hair."
The implant is configured to conform to the surface of the brain without damaging tissue, which allows it to be easily removed. Each microelectrode array is made up of 1,024 electrodes, giving it a density 600 times greater than standard cortical arrays.
"Our electrode arrays will be implanted using a novel, minimally invasive, cranial micro-slit technique. Unlike other approaches, Precision’s surgery is designed to be fully reversible. The arrays are configured to conform to the surface of the brain, maximizing bandwidth without doing damage to brain tissue," the company says on its website.
Despite being minimally invasive, the company says the implant can still process large amounts of data.
The new round of funding was led by Forepont Capital Partners, with Mubadala Capital, Draper Associates, Alumni Ventures, and re.Mind Capital also participating, as well as existing investors Steadview Capital and B Capital Group. Precision will use the capital to build out its team, while also further developing the product, and getting ready for FDA regulatory review, which it expects to do in the next few months.
“We imagine a world where devastating neurological conditions – stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia – are finally treatable,” Michael Mager, CEO of Precision Neuroscience, said in a statement.
“To reach this world, brain–computer interface technology needs to progress out of the lab and into the clinic. Precision is excited to take on that challenge.”
(Image source: precisionneuro.io)
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