New Partners for Neurotech

The neurotechnology industry has benefited greatly in recent months from new funding initiatives from government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. But now there is a steady stream of multibillion dollar biopharmaceutical and other healthcare conglomerates investing and partnering with neurotech firms and research organizations.

In recent issues of this publication, we have reported on neurotech partnership deals with pharmaceutical firms such as GSK, Pfizer, and Merck. Last month, we reported that Google’s Verily Life Sciences unit got into the act, putting up 45 percent in a joint venture with GSK to form Galvani Bioelectronics [NBR Aug16 p1].

We’re pleased to report in this issue that three additional publicly traded healthcare firms have pursued neurotech partnerships. As we report in our vendor profile on page 7 of this issue, Kimberly Clark spinoff Halyard Health entered into a partnership with Case Western Reserve University to develop pain neuromodulation devices based on nerve block technology. Also, the Swiss firm Nestle Health Science acquired a British firm developing a neuromodulation therapy for dysphagia [see Financial News, p3]. And the Belgian firm UCB announced a deal with Great Lakes NeuroTech to combine GLNT’s neurosensing devices with UCB’s drug therapies for movement disorders [see News Briefs, p4]. This partnership is particularly intriguing because it points up the fact that traditional pharmaceutical therapies are not necessarily enemies of neurotech devices: drugs and devices can coexist to form novel interventions for neurological disorders.

Ana Infante, who heads up UCB’s Free Motion Mission, highlighted this point in a press announcement. “We are excited to be collaborating with GLNT to progress and explore value-creating opportunities in movement disorders and other neurological diseases of high unmet need. This partnership supports our vision of ensuring all patients with movement disorders experience an optimum treatment experience.”

At the upcoming Neurotech Leaders Forum October 24-25 in San Francisco, many of these emerging trends will be discussed in more detail. We’re pleased to announce that Adam Roth, director of business development at Galvani Bioelectronics, will give a presentation. We will also hear from representatives of other bioelectronic medicine firms and research institutions. And a concluding session called “Drugs vs. Devices: A New Paradigm Emerges,” moderated by Alison Fenney from the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, will explore many of the issues and opportunities confronting neurotech firms interacting with biopharmaceutical firms.

We look forward to seeing many of our readers at the event.

James Cavuoto

Editor and Publisher

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