Digital brain health solution provider, Neurovine, looking for partnership to advance wearable technology

Jill Lai, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Neurovine co-founder and CEO, Dr. Ashleigh Kennedy; credit: Neurovine

Neurovine, an EEG (Electroencephalogram)-based cognitive pacing solution provider, tapped into the global ICT supply chain last year by joining the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) business development program in Taipei. The company expects to advance its wearable technology by leveraging expertise from Asian partners.

Neurovine is a Canadian-based startup that supports users as they work towards better brain health. The solution comprises an EEG Sensorband that connects with cloud-based analytics software and alerts the user when they need to take a break. In-app personalized guided meditations help the user restore their brain energy levels once they do take a break.

In a zoom meeting, DIGITIMES interviewed Neurovine co-founder and CEO, Dr. Ashleigh Kennedy, also an experienced neurophysiological scientist and entrepreneur. Through her father, a Canadian Football League team player, and his teammates, she observed the impact of brain injury in football and the difficult recovery process. The vague guidelines and lack of solutions available at the time sparked her interest to start research at Stanford University in developing technologies for supporting patients during the brain injury recovery journey.

With more than 10 years in Ph.D. research, a postdoctoral fellowship in the rehabilitation department, and years working in the industry, she and her physician co-founder started Neurovine; aiming to use digital health solutions to assist patients as they recover.

Since Neurovine was founded to address a clinical need, the technology enables virtual care and supports patients as they recover from brain injury or illness at home. This is achieved through cognitive pacing, physical exercise, meditation, and visual training.

Compared to other competitors in biofeedback meditation programs, the differentiator for Neurovine is to provide personalized medicine to patients recovering from brain injury, disorders, or illness. To this end, Neurovine is developing decision-support tools that will help clinicians to diagnose and prescribe therapies. Neurovine is planning to get health regulatory clearance (e.g. FDA) for its prescription digital therapies as well as the tools that support clinical workers.

So far, the company has been successfully working with some individual sports teams and hospitals. "We have got a lot of patient data which will provide incredibly valuable information around the prognosis of patients suffering from minor brain injuries. Over the next five years, this technology will be available to organizations including military, sports teams and leagues, and hospitals." She continued to say she wants to work with payer systems, like insurance companies, and employee benefit programs. "This technology could be offered to an employer who has a high risk for brain injuries, like manufacturers or construction sites, being able to provide this technology to help get their employees back to work safer and faster," she said.

Neurovine EEG Sensorband and app; credit: Neurovine

Neurovine EEG Sensorband and app; credit: Neurovine

Looking for suppliers to advance wearable technology

Mentioning wearable technology, Ashleigh Kennedy said that patients are more comfortable with wearables at this point, and because of COVID, patients are comfortable with virtual care as well.

"The COVID-19 pandemic pushed us forward about five years in the acceptance and usability of wearable devices in the medical market… Additionally, remote monitoring has evolved to a point where we can truly have medical-grade wearables for in-home or in-office use. Currently, we're manufacturing the hardware locally in Canada. We joined the CTA program, looking for a partner to take our manufacturing to the next level," she said.

Neurovine's team strength is data science and software. So, the company is mainly looking to find more partners to co-develop the next generation of hardware. More specifically, she is looking for suppliers who can support fabric, electronics, or sensor parts, help refine their design or do the assembly, to make the headband more consumer-friendly and more cost-effective.

"The fabric we need should be conductive, like electrode fabric, and it can conduct the signal from the brain," she explained.

The Series A funding

Right now, the company has raised US$3.5 million in funding, which allows the company to start exploring manufacturing partnerships to improve the headband. They are currently raising a Series A round of financing to scale sales into the US and overseas. The company joined the CTA program also to look for investors to join the current raise to bring this technology to the patients that need it most.