Neuralink Competitor One Step Closer to Brain Chip Commercialization

Synchron announced a significant investment in a German manufacturer of health care components, as it prepares to ramp up production

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

February 2, 2024

2 Min Read
The Stentrode Endovascular Electrode Array
The Stentrode Endovascular Electrode Array Synchron

Synchron, a brain implant startup that marks the main competitor to Elon Musk’s Neuralink, is set to ramp up production of its brain chip in preparation for commercial launch.

The company has acquired a minority stake in Acquandas, a German manufacturer that specializes in high-precision components for the health care industry, signaling its move to begin mass production of its brain chip.

Synchron’s brain-computer interface (BCI) is designed to help users with mobility impairments operate technology, such as smartphones and computers, with their minds. 

“As we pioneer functional endovascular neurotechnology, this investment strengthens our technology innovation and supply chain for our unique product offerings, beginning with brain-computer interfaces,” said Tom Oxley, Synchron’s CEO. 

Founded in 2012, Synchron has been developing its BCI for patients with limited mobility. The implant, Synchron Switch, is implanted through a patient’s blood vessels via the jugular vein, inserted to sit on the surface of the motor cortex of the brain. 

Synchron received U.S. approval for human testing in July 2021 and patient enrollment for its U.S.-based human trial was completed last November, testing the BCI in six patients with severe paralysis.

“The primary goal of the study is to assess if the device can be safely implanted into the blood vessels of the brain using neurointerventional procedures,” according to a company press release. “For these patients who can no longer use their hands, the study is additionally designed to evaluate how the BCI may enable use of their thoughts to control digital devices for daily tasks such as texting, emailing, online shopping and telehealth services.”

Related:Musk Neuralink Implants First Brain Chip in Human

Additional trials to demonstrate the BCI’s efficacy will be needed before it can reach commercialization, though the Acquandas acquisition bodes well for the company’s next steps. 

Synchron has already received significant industry interest, with a 2022 funding round that raised $75 million from the investment firms of both Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

The company is vying with Neuralink for commercial launch, with Elon Musk’s startup announcing the first successful implant of its brain chip in a human in January.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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