Synchron is a brain-computer platform created in 2004 by University of Melbourne Associate Professors Thomas Oxley and Nicholas Opie. The company has raised AU$52 million as part of a series B funding round led by Silicon Valley capital firm Khosla Ventures.
The money will enable researchers to continue to improve the implantable computer-based brain interface, which includes Stentrode(TM), by conducting clinical studies within the United States.
Stentrode(TM) can be described as a tiny device about the size of a paperclip. It has been demonstrated to assist patients suffering from upper limb paralysis to communicate via email, text, and even shopping online in the first human study carried out by the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia.
Neurointerventionalist and CEO of Synchron, Associate Professor Oxley, said the funding would pave the way towards approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the US – a crucial step towards making the technology available to physicians.
“This technology could help millions of patients and fundamentally alter what we thought was feasible,” Associate Professor Oxley stated.
“By using blood vessels for the route to the brain, we can reach all brain regions, which previously required open surgery and removal of the skull in various areas.”
The University was a participant in the Series B round together with Khosla Ventures and other investors.
University of Melbourne Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mark Hargreaves congratulated Associate Professor Oxley and the Synchron team.
“This announcement illustrates how a clinical need can be addressed by university research and ultimately into a commercially viable result that could transform people’s lives,” Hargreaves said. Hargreaves said.
“I am thrilled that the University, together with our highly valued precinct partner, continues to be an important research partner. We look forward to continuing collaboration with the business on this exciting development journey.”
A minimally invasive implant for the brain that allows patients to control electronic devices wirelessly through their thoughts and enhance the quality of their lives. Stentrode(TM) is a component of the Synchron brain-computer interface and was created in collaboration with researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Monash University, and the company Synchron. Synchron is a pioneer in the area of implantable brain-computer interfaces. It is currently evaluating a commercial device that is in the trial phase. It was created by associate professors Thomas Oxley (CEO) and Nicholas Opie (CTO) and aimed to develop and commercialize neural bionics products and technology. Synchron utilizes some of the top engineers and doctors. Assistant professors Oxley Opie and Oxley Opie have also been appointed co-leaders for the University’s Vascular Bionics Laboratory.