2017 in Review

The year 2017 may not be remembered as the most dramatic in the history of the neurotechnology industry. But it certainly continued a long sequence of good news for entrepreneurs and researchers in the field.

Among the significant technological achievements of the year was the first demonstration of a brain computer interface integrated with an implanted FES system to restore function to a paralyzed individual. The event took place at the Cleveland FES Center in conjunction with the BrainGate2 team [NBR Mar17 p1]. We also saw great progress in optogenetics technology, neurorobotics, and new materials for brain stimulating and sensing electrodes.

In the area of government funding for neurotech, DARPA announced awards in its Targeted Neuroplasticity program, and its Neural Engineering System Design program. As it has in the past, the NIH contributed significant funding to neurotech startups and research institutions, including $21 million for an epilepsy/TBI project [NMR Jan17 p5].

Significant FDA approvals during the year included Allergan’s TrueTear intranasal tear neurostimulator, electroCore’s gammaCore for cluster headache, Medtronic’s Intellis SCS platform, and Boston Scientific’s Vercise DBS system. Xavant Technology received FDA clearance for its pulsed RF pain neuromodulation system, while Respicardia gained FDA approval of its remede neurostimulation system for central sleep apnea. Nexstim plc also received FDA clearance for its NBT magnetic stimulation system for depression.

Neurotech startups did well in 2017 obtaining seed capital and venture capital funding. Saluda Medical received an A$53 million infusion for its closed-loop SCS system. Synchron received a $10 million round for its Stentrode brain device. NeuroTronik closed a $23 million round for its cardiac neuromodulation system. Wyse raised € 6.5 million for its flexible electrode technology. Theranica Bio-Electronics raised $6 million for its noninvasive stimulation system for migraine. Neuros Medical raised $20 million for its neuromodulation system to treat post-amputation pain. SPR Therapeutics received $25 million to commercialize its peripheral nerve stimulation system for treating pain. Aleva Neurotherapeutics raised a $13 million round for its DBS technology.

Key mergers and acquisitions during the year included Philips’ purchase of Electrical Geodesics and LivaNova’s purchase of ImThera Medical. In a smaller deal. Natus Medical acquired Blackrock Neuromed for $1 million plus incentives. During the year, Bioness Inc. signed a distribution deal with European medical device firm OttoBock for its neurorehabilitation devices.

All in all, 2017 was a good year for neurotechnology and perhaps a harbinger for even better times in the year ahead.

James Cavuoto
Editor and Publisher

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