This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to complement scientific papers on new neural research in an easy, digestable way. Innovators and professionals can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space.
Suraj Mudichintala on investing in bioelectronic medicine companies with Action Potential Venture
29:18Suraj Mudichintala is a Senior Associate at Action Potential Capital which is GSK's bioelectronic medicine venture fund. Top 3 Takeaways: "Our fund is different in that we invest actually directly off of GSK's balance sheet. So we're what's called an evergreen fund where we don't actually have a fund size" "The way that I think about it is that a VC is really paid to allocate capital but really is really paid to think. You really have to think about what is the next space or the next technology that could disrupt a space? And because of that, it's a much you often have to take a much more longitudinal view. And it takes a lot of patience and tracking a space oftentimes for years" "When you reach out to a VC having a pitch, first of all, sending a non-confidential pitch deck is mandatory, I think. And that deck is essentially where we're making the first decision as to whether or not to do a call with you" 0:45 Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did? 1:15 "Do you wanna talk about Action Potential, what it is, who it was formed by, and the investment thesis?" 2:30 Do you want to talk about the expansion of the AP investment thesis? 4:30 What does traditional Venture Capital look like and how is it different in that you are funded by GSK? 6:15 What do the positions within a VC firm look like? 7:45 How has it been for you going from Analyst to Associate? 8:45 What does your due diligence look like? 11:45 "A lot of VCs have a target size range, be it seed or angel or, maybe larger institutional stuff. But it sounds like you guys don't really have that?" 12:45 "How did you get into this space?" 14:45 "So how does consulting compare to the VC life?" 18:45 "What would you suggest is the best way to get your attention?" 24:00 What are some tips and tricks to reaching out to you? 27:00 What was the worst pitch deck you ever saw? 28:30 " Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Balint Varkuti on turning neuromodulation technologies into Brain-Computer-Interfaces using software by CereGate
37:14Balint Varkuti is the CEO of CereGate which unlocks new capabilities for existing neuromodulation technologies using software. Top 3 Takeaways: "the brain is naturally wired for pattern perception for learning, and that's really what we do. We send signals that the brain very quickly can pick up." "You do not need to exclusively be focused mentally, consciously on interpreting these signals. Rather it becomes second nature. Our favourite analogy is saying it is like braille for the brain." "With hardware, you sometimes have simply the disadvantage that you are married to the time point when you started. So if you started a long time ago, you started with that technology and you have a whole regulatory documentation that's building on that. So fundamentally pivoting in hardware down the road almost becomes impossible." 0:45 Do you want to introduce yourself? 3:00 What is special about the software that hasn't already been done? 11:30 The brain is plastic and the software is changing so how does it work with these two systems fighting? 13:30 How can this approach be used to treat Parkinson symptoms such as Freezing of Gait ?" 14:15 Can you read braille? 15:30 "How fast does a patient learn to use this?" 19:00 " How can a company work with you?" 21:15 You guys have been in stealth mode for 4 years, why did it take 4 years and do you have any success stories so far? 23:45 "Do you wanna talk about the regulatory pathway and how it was how to do a software versus a hardware solution?" 27:00 How did your background in behavioral sciences shape your outlook to the company? 30:15 You didn't mention coding in your background, can you talk about starting a software company without much coding experience? 31:30 You have 25 people involved in the company but doesn't seem that you have raised much money, why such a big team? 35:15 "What does the next four years look like? What's on your horizon?" 37:00 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
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Kevin Tracey returns to the podcast to give an update about his work at the Feinstein Institutes, the field of bioelectronic medicine and exciting vagus nerve clinical trials underway
27:42Kevin Tracey returns to the podcast to give an update about his work at the Feinstein Institutes and the work at SetPoint Medical. Top 3 Takeaways: "Two years we discovered that a drug called Famotidine, which is sold as a generic drug Pepcid AC is actually a pharmacological or a drug-based vagus nerve stimulator. And we proved first in mice that famotidine placed directly in very small amounts placed directly in the brains of mice activates the vagus nerve. And this in turn turned off cytokine storm, which of course is a big problem in Covid 19" "A company that I've co-founded, Setpoint Medical, is currently deep into clinical trials in the United States called ResetRA, which is on clinical trials.gov or on the SetPoint website for rheumatoid arthritis patients. And that trial is enrolling many patients up to, I think 250 patients will be studied according to the websites and we're hoping that goes very well. And we're hoping, I'm hoping that leads to FDA approval for vagus nerve stimulation in the US in the coming days or coming in the coming months" "I think we're very close now to vagus nerve stimulation becoming a reality for millions of patients. And I, I hope, and I see a time when patients have the. Of choosing vagus nerve stimulation as a simple, safe therapy instead of dangerous, expensive drugs with black box warnings that are minimally effective." 0;30 "Do you wanna introduce yourself and talk about some of your work, especially as neuromodulation pertains to the immune system?" 2:45 "So the last time when we talked it was 2020. So pandemic, everything was upside down. But then you were telling me before we started recording that it was also especially busy for you at that time. So what were you up to around then?" 6:00 What were the quantitative takeaways of the Famotidine Covid trials? 8:15 "Why didn't it become standard practice?" 11:00 "You're saying the famotidine has this effect on the vagus nerve. Does this mean we no longer need vagus nerve stimulators? Can we just take Pepcid, AC?" 15:00 Do you want to talk about the Bioelectronic Medicine Summit? 17:30 What were some of the highlights of the Summit? 19:30 "You mentioned some interesting results. Is that something you can share now or is that something that we should be on the lookout for?" 21:30 "You were also featured recently in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, what was that like and what were the articles about?" 23:15 "So what's exciting you now for 2023 and what's on the horizon for you for the next few years?" 27:15 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Israel Gasperin on measuring cannabis effects quanitatively with EEG with Zentrela
36:56Israel Gasperin is the founder and CEO of Zentrela which uses wearable EEG caps to quantitatively measure cannabis experiences. Top 3 Takeaways: "The reason why the government funded us was to use this for safety and law enforcement" "The combination of features that AI is finding is something that we haven't really focused on studying and trying to understand. It's a black box today that, is accurately and objectively characterizing the psychoactive effects, but we don't exactly know what they mean." "Based on this neuroscience-driven research proving the onset time of the beverage, within two weeks [the company] increased their sales by 7% and they achieved record volume cells after. So what we did, or they did, was to educate the retailers to speak about their product based on this scientific publication, rather than, providing their subjective opinion" 0:45 Do you want to describe yourself better than I just did? 1:00 "We're talking about marijuana, we're talking about getting high. What are you measuring or what's the reasoning behind this?" 11:00 " You're saying that you can tell if people are high or not. What kind of confidence do you have and, what shows up in high people's brains?" 14:15 Do you want to talk about one of your success stories working with a company? 22:45 "How many people have you had come through your labs and run through your system?" 24:00 "Of the 20,000 sessions, how many are yours?" 27:45 "You've been working on this for six years. What do the next six years look like?" 32:15 "What are some challenges?" 35:45 "Is there anything that we didn't cover that you wanted to mention?" https://www.linkedin.com/in/israelgasperin/?locale=en_US
Colin Kealey on the non-pharmaceutical adolescent ADHD treatment with NeuroSIgma
39:06Colin Kealey is the President and CEO of NeuroSigma which is commercializing the Monarch eTNS System, the first non-drug treatment for pediatric ADHD cleared by the FDA. Top 3 Takeaways: NeuroSigma is commercializing the Monarch eTNS system, a wearable medical device that stimulates the trigeminal nerve on the forehead, as a treatment for neurologic and neuropsychiatric indications. The Monarch eTNS System is FDA cleared as a treatment for pediatric ADHD, ages 7 – 12. Clinical trials in this population show a response rate of 50% with a only mild side effects observed in clinical trials to date. NeuroSigma is also developing its eTNS technology for other indications including epilepsy and depression and is currently running two large double-blind randomized controlled trials in ADHD to expand the label into adolescents, and for using the device as adjunctive therapy. 0:45 "Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did?" 7:15 What is the efficacy of your device? 8:45 "What are some typical side effects of pharmaceutical ADHD treatments and what are some typical side effects of your guys' treatment?" 16:45 That was the pharmaceutical side effects, how about the neurostimulator side effects? 20:00 How does it work sleeping with a wired system? 21:45 "Were you guys able to cross-reference with any other sleep metrics to see if the quality of sleep diminished or maybe even increased?" 24:30 What's the protocol for using this device? 26:30 Could adults use this also? 28:30 Will college students use this as a study aid? 29:30 "What does your funding look like?" 35:15 How will you prevent Chinese knockoffs? 38:30 " Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Craig Mermel on working at Google and Apple and now at Precision Neuroscience
30:14Craig Mermel is the President and Chief Product Officer at Precision Neuroscience which is a company looking to commercialize Brain-Computer Interfaces using a minimally implantation method and a soft electrode device. ***This podcast is sponsored by Iris Biomedical, check out their Neurotech Startup Services here*** Top 3 Takeaways "The combination of both the nature of our thin film and the surgical innovations that we bring enables us to bring cortical surface neurotechnology to patients in a minimally invasive fashion." "Having 10 times the amount of money at an early stage before you actually solve some of the key problems can be a problem because it pushes off some of the hard questions you have to ask yourself." "We're thinking ahead to the future where you have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of interfaces. The amount of damage you do will become a limiting factor at some point." 0:45 Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did? 1:30 Why did you leave Apple and Google? 2:30 What is Precision and why is it special? 6:00 What's the funding look like? 8:00 "Why hasn't this been done before?" 10:00 Are you thinking about licensing out the technology? 11:15 Iris Biomedical ad sponsorship 12:00 What's your role now in Precision?" 12:45 "What are some of your biggest challenges?" 15:30 You guys raised $12M, why specifically this number? 19:00 "What are some, best practices or traps to avoid?" 21:45 Let's do a deeper dive into your work at Google and Apple 27:30 How would you compare working at Google and Apple vs being in a startup? 29:15 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Lothar Krinke on adaptive Deep Brain Stimulation at Newronika
35:07Lothar Krinke is the CEO and Board Member of Newronika which is an adaptive Deep Brain Stimulator company looking to improve patient outcomes in things like Parkinson's and Essential Tremor. ***This podcast is sponsored by Iris Biomedical, check out their Neurotech Startup Services here*** Top 3 Takeaways: "the one thing we do need to address is really the cost. The cost driver of Deep Brain Stimulation isn't the manufacturing of the system. Now, that's not cheap either it's certainly less than $10,000. How expensive is brain surgery, particularly functional brain surgery? How expensive is it to have all the pre-operation preparation? So I think the field needs to think about how we can lower the cost of Deep Brain Stimulation to make it available to not hundreds of thousands of patients, but literally millions of patients." "I don't think AI or even machine learning has been sufficiently applied in our space. People do it and they talk about it, but if you look at other fields, even EEG, use of AI or machine learning are much more penetrated." "In my mind it is almost unconscionable that only 15% of patients that could benefit from Parkinsons, from DBS do. So somehow we need to have a battle cry. We need to have the responsibility to make this therapy available to more people. And the way to do that is less invasive more automation and lower cost" 0:45 Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did? 2:15 "Why is Deep Brain Simulation so exciting for you?" 3:15 "Can explain what Deep Brain Stimulation is and what it's a treatment for?" 5:30 "How did you get into the field?" 6:30 Iris Biomedical ad sponsorship 7:15 You thought earlier that DBS was too invasive but now changed your mind, why? 8:15 What are the biggest impediments to DBS? 12:15 Why is the Newronika DBS better than the alternatives? 14:30 Why is adaptive DBS better? 16:30 "What are some of the biggest challenges right now at Newronika?" 20:30 You are in Minneapolis, West Virginia, and Milan, how are you able to travel so much? 21:30 "Why aren't you in Gainesville? I was surprised how big the DBS field is here." 22:15 "For people starting out in the field, do you have any advice?" 25:30 " What's a big mistake or wrong direction that you see researchers or people on your field going down?" 27:45 "Could you explain the beta and gamma waves?" 32:45 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Damiano G. Barone on being a neurosurgeon and improving patient quality of life through surgery
30:52Damiano Giuseppe Barone is a neurosurgery clinical lecturer at the University of Cambridge and fellow at The Walton Centre in Liverpool, UK. He is interested in tackling basic and translational challenges for the development of the next generation of neural bioelectronics. ***This podcast is sponsored by Ripple Neuro, check out their Neuroscience Research Tools here*** Top 3 Takeaways: "My favorite procedure is the procedure that works and you see the patient after that is is a changed patient." "You come out from medical school like age 23 or 24. Then you get to a general medical program which in the United Kingdom lasts 2 years in and then you get to the residency, which is 8 years. And then 10 years after you are age 34 practicing the neurosurgeon. I personally took what is called an 'out of programme for research/. So basically I halted my neurosurgery residency. I stepped out and I stepped in a PhD program while still covering what is called the on-call rota, which is basically doing emergency work in neurosurgery just to keep my clinical skills going." This added a few more years of training to the list. "Quality of life procedures, to be offered to the patients, will have to have a 70 to 80% improvement to justify the risks the patient will have to go through." 0:45 Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did? 2:45 You spent 20 years in training for this, did you know this at the outset? 4:00 "What's it like to get only a few hours of sleep for years?" 5:00 Why did you choose to go the PhD route as well? 7:45 What's it like to be digging around in the body? 9:45 Sponsorship by Ripple Neuro 10:00 "What's your favorite procedures and what's your least favorite procedures?" 12:15 "What percentage of patients see improvements?" 14:30 "What are some, risks other than it not working, what are maybe some damage or maybe even death is that a possibility?" 16:45 "It's much more dangerous to have, a large device versus a small device. Is that kinda what you've seen?" 18:45 "Have you been involved in electrode design or device design?" 19:45 "What are you working on now?" 25:00 "What are the next steps?" 28:00 "What would you recommend or what kind of advice do you have for people considering this?"
Jon Sakai on interacting with your target patients and the neural sleeve made by Cionic
23:56Jon Sakai is the Head of Commercialization at Cionic, a wearable neurostimulator sleeve for those with neuromuscular disease ***This podcast is sponsored by Iris Biomedical, check out their Neurotech Startup Services here*** Top 3 Takeaways: "There isn't any individualized training that needs to happen. What needs to happen is the identification of which muscle groups need support and have those turned on and programmed in intensity appropriately." "We were able to improve door sub selection and inversion in more than 90% of our participants." "There's nothing like getting an appreciation for a problem like the acuity of a problem when you just watch someone for five minutes struggle with something that's probably unimaginable if it's a condition that you're not familiar with." 0:45 "Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did?" 2:45 "There are algorithms that go behind it and it can actually predict how you're walking. How does that work?" 3:45 "Is there a learning process for the algorithms?" 5:00 "Do you guys use hydrogels as well? And how do you have gels inside of your leggings?" 5:45 Iris Biomedical ad sponsorship 6:30 "What kind of improvement is there?" 8:30 How can your algorithm predict the end of a walking cycle before it has started? 9:15 What was it like getting FDA approval? 9:45 What are the next steps for the company after raising your next round of funding? 10:30 How is this going to be sold? In clinics, prescriptions, or normal retail? 11:45 What is Head of Commercialization and how does one get that role? 14:45 "You guys have been around for four years. What do the next four years look like?" 16:30 "What are some big challenges that are facing?" 17:30 "If you had unlimited funding, what would you do?" 18:30 What is some career advice you have? 22:45 " Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Hannah Claridge on helping small neurotech companies with R&D work at TTP
28:40Hannah Claridge is the Head of Neurotechnology at TTP which is a consultancy that helps neurotech companies create the next generation of medical devices. ***This podcast is sponsored by Iris Biomedical, check out their Neurotech Startup Services here*** Top 3 Takeaways: "I think consulting is really fantastic for the variety that it offers you. Not just in terms of seeing problems, but also working with different types of companies, different types of technologies, and having different day-to-day activities as well" "There have been cases where we've worked with very small companies where the company is composed of two or three founders whose sole role is the concept of the idea and the thinking behind what's the business case, and then gathering in the funding and passing that funding through for us to carry out the product development work. Now that's pretty unusual in most cases." "You need to be able to balance the efficacy of treatment with the side effects that are usually created. And if you go too far in one direction or the other, then that treatment stops being helpful. So if you stimulate too strongly, and the effect might be really effective but if the side effects are too strong, then patients aren't going to tolerate that." 0:45 Do you want to introduce yourself better than I just did? 1:45 "Let's talk about clinical translation, what does that entail?" 4:45 Iris Biomedical ad sponsorship 5:45 "What's a typical contract length and what does it look like from beginning to end?" 9:00 "It really sounds like you guys do everything. You could just take an idea and then bring it almost all the way to market" 10:15 "Do you wanna share the neurotech projects you've worked on?" 11:15 "What's a common problem that you see?" 17:15 "How does a company recover, like from having so much help to not having any help? Is that typical too?" 19:45 "What does your day-to-day look like? What are you usually doing?" 22:30 What's a typical pathway into the career of consulting? 25:15 "If you had unlimited funding or if a company had unlimited funding, what would you do?" 28:00 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"