Darpa helps implant $10m in Synchron

Darpa is among the investors in Synchron, which is looking to trial minimally-invasive neural interface technology based on research conducted at Melbourne University.

The US Department of Defense, including the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), has taken part in a $10m series A round in US-based neural interface developer Synchron.

Neurotechnology Investors, a group of medical professional investors, led the round.

Synchron is developing the Stentrode, a minimally-invasive neural interface product that could provide a safe way for patients with severe paralysis to interact with assistive devices.

In 2016, Synchron purchased the developer of the Stentrode, SmartStent, which itself was spun out of Melbourne University in 2012.

The $10m investment will enable the company to perform clinical trials of the Stentrode.The company developed the technology in part by grants from DOD, Darpa and the US Office of Naval Research Global.

The Australian National Medical Health and Medical Research Council also supplied funding to Melbourne University’s Vascular Bionics Laboratory to develop the technology.

Thomas Oxley, founder and chief executive of Synchron, said: “We have designed a product to attempt to overcome the greatest challenge facing other neural interfaces: chronic brain tissue scarring.

“We aim to provide a safe way for patients with severe paralysis to achieve direct brain control of assistive devices. Successful completion of this funding round allows us to commence human studies.”

See more from this Government Report: US

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