Neuralink Rival Backed By Jeff Bezos And Bill Gates Broadens Horizons With Plans To Treat Parkinson's, Epilepsy

Synchron Inc., a competitor to Elon Musk‘s Neuralink Corp. backed by Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, has revealed plans to extend its brain-device technology to treat conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

What Happened: On Thursday at the Bloomberg Tech Summit, Synchron’s founder, Tom Oxley, disclosed the company’s expansion strategy saying that it intends to adapt its existing device, the Stentrode, for these new treatments, reported Bloomberg.

Oxley stated that the company intends to initiate a review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Parkinson's and epilepsy treatment, but refrained from specifying the timeline.

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Unlike Neuralink, Synchron’s approach does not require brain surgery. The Stentrode is implanted into a vein in the neck, and blood vessels transport it to the top of the brain’s motor cortex. Patients can then use the device to control external tools, such as computer cursors, using their thoughts.

The Stentrode is currently implanted in a small number of U.S. patients and is in the early feasibility stage of the review process.

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Why It Matters: This development comes on the heels of a milestone for Neuralink. Just a day before Synchron’s announcement, Musk celebrated the successful 100-day milestone since the first human implant of Neuralink’s brain-computer interface (BCI). However, the company also acknowledged a malfunction in the system.

Noland Arbaugh, the first participant, underwent the implant procedure at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Following a successful surgery, Arbaugh was discharged the next day. However, Neuralink has now disclosed that a portion of the implant experienced malfunctioning post-surgery.

Meanwhile, Synchron had announced its plans to challenge Neuralink with an upcoming large-scale brain implant trial. Last month, it was reported that the company was advancing toward a pivotal clinical trial for its innovative brain implant technology.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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