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4 December, 2018 - 12:09 By Kate Sweeney

Silicon Valley backs $4.5m Cambridge neural engineering startup

BIOS, a Cambridge UK neural engineering startup, has closed $4.5 million in funding from top investors in the UK, Canada and Silicon Valley.

Led by Real Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and Ariel Poler, founder of the Human Augmentation syndicate on AngelList, this latest round of funding will enable BIOS to double its technical team, progress its core neural interface technology and expand access to its neural data tools.

The company has simultaneously announced the launch of its first international R & D office – in Montreal, Canada, which is acknowledged as a world-class AI talent hub.

Formerly known as Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems (CBAS), the technology innovator was co-founded by computational neuroscientist Emil Hewage and bioengineer Oliver Armitage in 2015.

BIOS was founded to address the issue of limited functionality in medical devices and bionics, which leaves patients with a burden of manual management of their diseases, over medication, or no solution.

BIOS connects directly to the nervous system via its neural interfaces and uses AI to read and write onto the nervous system to deal with the root cause of many chronic conditions – faulty or damaged nerve signals.

This can be anything from a failing organ to diabetes to limb loss to paralysis. For instance, the company can use its technology to allow users to control their prosthetic arms with their minds and to feel sensation back or can observe when an organ is failing and use devices to correct neural impulses in real time.

Other world-class funds and angel investors backing this round include Endure Capital; Heuristic Capital Partners; K5 Ventures; and Charles Songhurst, former GM corporate strategy at Microsoft.

The company has raised additional non-dilutive funding in grants and awards from Cisco, MassChallenge UK, and Innovate UK, and was backed at an early stage by Y Combinator (W ‘17) and Founder.org, founded by serial entrepreneur Michael Baum.

Emil Hewage said: “This funding round marks a new chapter in our company’s history as it gives us the opportunity to leverage our full potential technically and develop our product for the wider ecosystem.

“We have an incredible team already made up of experts from a huge range of fields, that come together to make this incredibly complex technology work seamlessly. Their expertise ranges from machine learning, neuroscience and medical robotics to biotechnology and medical specialists, but we’re looking forward to growing the team even further and to expand into Montreal.”

Alan MacIntosh, partner at Real Ventures, added: “BIOS has enormous potential to become the platform on which all future neural interfaces are built.”
 

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