The human brain is wonder of evolution—larger in ratio to body size than any other mammalian species. Yet while we’ve managed to pass on massive brains for hundreds of thousands of years, humans have been pretty slow when it comes to understanding how they work.
In recent decades, our comprehension has been exponentially on the rise. And more recently, startups have been finding ways to harness advances to provide aid and therapy for some of our most longstanding and intractable ailments.
Over the past couple years, over a billion dollars in venture and growth investment has gone to companies in the neurotherapeutics, brain sensing and related areas, per Crunchbase data. Focus areas include brain-computer interfaces, brain mapping, and applying AI to brain activity.
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The latest large funding announcement came today from MindMaze, a developer of digital neurotherapeutics that secured $105 million in a new financing round led by Concord Health Partners. The company, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, London and Baltimore, says it plans to use the capital for R&D, clinical development and commercializing its technology.
An even bigger funding announcement came earlier this week from Kallyope, a biotechnology company that focuses on the therapeutic potential of gut-brain circuits. The New York-based startup announced it raised $235 million in a Series D funding led by Mubadala Investment Co. and The Column Group.
As MindMaze and Kallyope scale up, other neurotechnology upstarts and growth-stage companies are also pulling in large rounds. Below, we pulled together a list of companies in neurotherapy, brain sensing and related areas that have raised sizable rounds in the past two years.
Kallyope, with $479 million in funding to date, ranks as the largest investment recipient on our list. The 7-year-old company focuses on the gut-brain axis, which it describes as the communication highway between our gut and our brain.
Using its research, Kallyope believes it can help therapeutics for diseases including obesity, diabetes, functional gastrointestinal disorders, inflammatory disorders, depression, autism and potentially Parkinson’s disease. All of these ailments, the company says, have been linked to the gut-brain axis.
MindMaze, meanwhile, provides digital assessments and therapeutics for patients suffering from neurological conditions including stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Founded in 2012, the company operates two divisions: A health care arm that provides therapies and a lab division that works on new projects in development.
On the health care side, MindMaze’s offerings include an animated gaming experience called MindPod Dolphin that the company says is designed to promote the recovery of motor skill and cognitive function for stroke patients.
On the lab side, the company says its “largest ambition” is the CogniChip platform, an operating system that replicates sensory inputs the brain experiences.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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