Partnership created to commercialize neuroprostheses for people with paralysis

Synapse Biomedical Inc. and the Institute for Functional Restoration at Case Western Reserve University recently announced their partnership to commercialize neuroprostheses for people with paralysis.

According to a Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) press release, the Networked Neuroprosthesis is meant to restore muscle function for people with paralysis who cannot benefit from traditional prostheses.

“The business model we are creating is designed to be a lasting partnership, serving the small population with spinal cord injury as well as patients who have suffered a stroke and other neurological disorders,” Hunter Peckham, PhD, the Donnell Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Distinguished University Professor at CWRU, stated in the release.

In the implantable system, the power module, sensing and stimulating modules, (the very light teardrop shaped item is an electrode), are connected by network cables.

Source: Lee R, Cleveland FES Center


Recently, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation provided $1.05 million in seed money to the non-profit Institute for Functional Restoration (IFR) in an effort to accelerate production of the system. In addition, the FDA approved IFR’s application to begin clinical trials on 10 patients who will use the system for hand grasp and postural balance. The Networked Neuroprosthesis, which runs on a rechargeable battery, uses an implantable stimulator to activate neural pathways and create or restore motion.

“The partnership with Synapse Biomedical marks a pivotal step in our program because, not only will it serve as the manufacturer of the CWRU-developed Networked Neuroprosthesis and license the technology for its own use, but we anticipate the partnership being the first step in creating a sustainable business model for this technology to reach people with spinal cord injury,” Megan Moynahan, executive director of the IFR, stated.

“We have a long history of transferring technology from the advanced development labs of CWRU to the commercial marketplace and look forward to making this available to a broader group of patients,” Anthony R. Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of Synapse Biomedical Inc., stated.

The Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the IFR a $3 million grant for the project in 2013, and this funding will be matched by CWRU, Synapse Biomedical Inc. and Valtronic.

“Valtronic is excited to enter a partnership agreement with Case Western Reserve University and Synapse to facilitate, grow and bring the next generation of innovation and technology to the forefront of patient care,” Jay Wimer, president and chief executive officer of Valtronic, stated.

Synapse also has invited international partners — including the Institute for Industrial Science, University of Tokyo and USCI Ltd. — to further promote the technologies in Asia.

Synapse Biomedical Inc. will build and sell the systems as the technology earns regulatory approvals in Europe, Japan and the United States.


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