Cambridge innovator backed by US health powerhouse
BIOS, a Cambridge pioneer in the development of neural interfaces, has received funding from the US National Institutes of Health’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Program.
The award is designed to efficiently explore neuromodulation parameters to help accelerate the development of neural treatments for chronic disease, using BIOS’ unique neural biomarker technology.
At the end of 2020, BIOS launched its pioneering Autonomic Therapy Initiative (BIOS ATI), which will see the company work with world-leading partners to deliver a new class of treatments for heart disease using AI-powered neural interfaces.
The primary focus of the SPARC program is to catalyse the bioelectronic medicine field by providing a scientific and technological foundation for future neuromodulation devices and protocols to improve organ function.
Heart disease is one area of focus for potential new neuromodulation therapies and this award marks a direct acceleration of BIOS’ efforts to find and commercialise new solutions for one of humanity’s most pressing chronic conditions.
The NIH Common Fund’s SPARC Program is working with BIOS to enable all NIH SPARC researchers and ultimately the neuromodulation community as a whole to use its proprietary technology in neural treatment design, which will be made accessible on the SPARC Portal.
This access will allow them to automatically design and optimise new neural therapeutic stimulations that can act as drug replacements for the diseases they are studying. The NIH SPARC Program is committed to provide $0.9 million for the first 12-month phase of the award, with a potential second year that could bring the total funding to approximately $1.4m.
The hope is for this to be the first year of a potential multi-year award between BIOS and the SPARC neuromodulation community. The neural biomarker technology will be available to the neuromodulation community for research use via the SPARC Portal, with BIOS retaining the commercial rights to the underlying biomarkers and therapy design technology.
The NIH Common Fund’s SPARC (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions) Program seeks to accelerate development of therapeutic devices that use electrical activity in nerves to improve organ function.
SPARC is by far the largest public research program of its type and has over the last five years provided more than $200m to leading researchers to better understand neural control of disease and investigate neural targets for therapies.
BIOS has leveraged recent breakthroughs in AI and Machine Learning to translate the language of the nervous system for the first time. By collecting and analysing neural data, BIOS is able to precisely link nerve activity to specific chronic conditions by isolating the neural biomarkers of disease and can respond to them in real time.
This development holds the key to new treatments for conditions including hypertension, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and in the future even diseases of the brain itself such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. The NIH SPARC Program is working with BIOS to gain access to this neural biomarker technology.
Emil Hewage, CEO & co-founder of BIOS said: “BIOS’ mission to leverage the nervous system to create treatments for some of our most pressing chronic health conditions is directly aligned with the long term ambitions of the NIH SPARC Program.
“The fact that we have aligned to form this collaboration represents a significant vote of confidence in the core value of BIOS' biomarker technology.
“It will accelerate our efforts to find and commercialise new solutions for heart disease by greatly expanding the user base for our tools and accelerating the rate of dataset growth and digital biomarker development.
“In partnership with the NIH SPARC Program, we can develop a new generation of treatments which tackle heart disease in an effective, automated, and personalised way, improving the quality of life of millions suffering from these diseases.”
Co-founded by Cambridge University graduates Emil Hewage, a computational neuroscientist, and Oliver Armitage – a biomechanical engineer – BIOS boasts a broad range of experts from neuroscience, machine learning, software engineering, applied biomaterials, biotechnology, and medicine.
The combined experience of the BIOS team extends to over 300 peer-reviewed publications, more than 10 first of kind medical devices and over 6,000 clinical procedures.