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Investment Is Pouring Into Neuromodulation Treatments

Last week, the Italian firm WISE announced the closing of a €15M Series C round to fund the development of a device that blocks chronic pain signals in the spinal cord by electrically activating nerve cells. In late September, the Dutch company Salvia BioElectronics raised €26M in Series A funding to develop a neuromodulation therapy for migraine.

Similarly, the Belgian firm Nyxoah completed an oversubscribed IPO on the Euronext stock exchange raising up to €85M. The IPO, which smashed the initial goal of €60M, will finance the development of an implant designed to treat sleep apnea by electrifying nerve cells under the tongue.

Neuromodulation is where a device controls nerve cell firing either with electrical currents, known as neurostimulation, or with localized doses of drugs. The technology has been used for decades to provide treatments for conditions involving the nervous system. For example, cochlear implants can improve hearing in hearing-impaired patients, and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can sometimes be treated by electrically activating neurons deep in the brain. With advances in computational technology, these devices are getting more sophisticated, and new disease indications are opening up. 

So, why is there so much interest in neuromodulation right now? One reason is that the technology has now reached a point where there are effective examples of its use on the market. 

The first pioneers in this area began development in the early 2000s, but there was insufficient evidence of its efficacy at the time. Clinical trials were small, there was limited wider knowledge about the technology among clinicians, and regulatory pathways were uncertain. All of this resulted in low amounts of funding early on.

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