INBRAIN Neuroelectronics, an ICN2 spin-off, raises 14.35M€ to bring graphene technologies to patients

By March 26, 2021ICN2

• INBRAIN Neuroelectronics is a spin-off company of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, a BIST centre) and ICREA.

• The company has announced a €14.35M Series A investment, co-led by Asabys Partners and Alta Life Sciences, and joined by Vsquared Ventures (Germany), TruVenturo (Germany), and CDTI (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation).

• INBRAIN’s mission is to decode brain signals into medical solutions by developing intelligent neuroelectronic therapies based on graphene technology for application in patients with Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and other brain-related disorders.

Barcelona, March 26th, 2021. INBRAIN Neuroelectronics is a spin-off company of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, a BIST centre), partner of the Graphene Flagship, and ICREA. It was established in 2019, at the intersection between Medtech, DeepTech, and Digital Health, with the mission of decoding brain signals into medical solutions for application in patients with Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders. The company designs small intelligent systems that are implantable into the brain and have the ability to decode brain signals with unprecedentedly high fidelity to produce a therapeutic response. The process is adapted to the clinical condition of the specific patient.

In June 2020, INBRAIN received a first seed investment from a syndicate of investors led by Asabys Partners (through Sabadell-Asabys Health Innovation Investment) and Alta Life Sciences, including the Institut Català de Finances (ICF), Finaves (IESE Business School), and BStartUp. Today the company announces a €14.35M Series A, one of the biggest rounds in the Spanish medtech industry, co-led by Asabys Partners and Alta Life Sciences, and joined by Vsquared Ventures, a deep tech focused early-stage VC based in Munich, TruVenturo GmbH, Germany’s most successful internet company builders, and CDTI (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation). The financing round also has follow-on investment from ICF Venture Tech II, ICF’s investment fund.

This investment will allow INBRAIN to bring technology built around innovative nanoscale graphene to humans for the first time, and to consolidate the safety of the material as the potential new standard of care in neurotechnologies.

According to a 2010 study commissioned by the European Brain Council, the cost of brain disorders in Europe alone reaches approximately 800 billion euros per year, with more than one third of the population affected. Between 25 – 35% of patients with a neuronal disease are refractory to pharmacological treatment and are left without effective therapy. The high incidence of brain-related diseases worldwide and their huge social cost call for greater investments in basic research in this field, with the aim of developing new and more efficient therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

Existing brain interfaces are based on metals (such as platinum and iridium), with significant restrictions on miniaturisation and signal resolution, and therefore responsible for considerable side effects. As a consequence, there is a 50% rejection rate in candidate patients. INBRAIN Neuroelectronics’ disruptive technology, based on the novel material graphene, will overcome the current limitations of metal-based neural interfaces.

INBRAIN Neuroelectronics is bringing a complete technological transformation to the treatment of neurological diseases. Its brain implantable intelligent systems are based on graphene electrodes, which allow miniaturisation to nanoscale fabrication, with the potential to reach single-neuron resolution. The extraordinary properties of graphene ̶ which is light, biocompatible, flexible, and extremely conductive ̶ are harnessed in much smaller devices that are safer to implant and can be programmed, upgraded and recharged wirelessly.

Driven by artificial intelligence, the implant can learn from the brain of the specific patient and trigger adaptive responses to deliver personalised neurological therapy. In addition, the use of big data management will permit remote monitoring of the device and data processing.

The technology has already been validated in-vitro and in-vivo, and biocompatibility and toxicity tests have been successful. Studies on large animals have been completed and the investment will be dedicated to bringing the technology to human patients, in collaboration with key neurosurgical and neurological groups in Europe.

INBRAIN is directed by Carolina Aguilar (Former Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation European and Global Commercialization Director) and was founded, among others, by ICREA Prof. Jose A. Garrido, Leader of the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, Prof. Kostas Kostarelos, Leader of the ICN2 Nanomedicine Group and Professor and Chair of Nanomedicine at the National Graphene Institute and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health of the University of Manchester (UK), and Dr. Anton Guimerà, Researcher at the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics (IMB-CNM-CSIC). The technology development team is formed by neurotechnology experts including Bert Bakker (CTO) and Michel Decre (Technology Advisor & Board Member) from Philips and other successful European neurotechnology startups.

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Press release (English) Nota de premsa (Català) Nota de prensa (Castellano)