NeuraLight, the company developing objective and sensitive biomarkers for neurological disorders, today (Tuesday) announced the closure of $25 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, with participation from Breyer Capital, Samsung NEXT, VSC Ventures, and Viz.ai co-founders Chris Mansi and David Golan.
Easing neurological disorder diagnoses
Unfortunately, most of us know someone who has been affected by neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's. And unfortunately, those numbers are only growing. If you have watched someone you love suffer from a neurological disorder, you know how heart wrenching and painful it is, mainly because there is not much that can be done about it. What’s more, is that there are no established objective and sensitive biomarkers to detect such neurological illnesses. This leads to misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all, which in turn leads to more dire patient consequences. To put this into context, presently, neurological evaluation is highly subjective, so much so that 25%-30% of evaluations have inter-rater variability, and up to a 30% chance of misdiagnosis for diseases such as Parkinson’s. Lacking objective and sensitive endpoints also results in a grim 6% of approval rate for neurological therapeutics, which is less than 50% of the approval rate for non-neurological drugs.
In a conversation with Geektime, Dr. Micha Breakstone, co-founder, and CEO of NeuraLight shared with us the inspiration to go down the path of developing precision medicine for neurological disease. “After watching my grandfather’s battle with Alzheimer’s, I began studying these diseases in-depth, and it soon became clear to me that not only are neurological diseases very hard to understand but that cures for these diseases are extremely hard to discover because these diseases lack robust objective and sensitive measures. That’s why we founded NeuraLight– to measure neurological disorders accurately and objectively.”
NeuraLight is using oculometric data to measure the progression of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and ALS. Their proprietary computer vision and deep learning algorithms extract all relevant oculometric markers from facial videos captured with a standard webcam or smartphone. They are then used as a reliable proxy for currently used clinical endpoints and can provide an accurate snapshot of a person's neurological status. This in turn will enable pharmaceutical companies to introduce smart phenotyping, reduce misdiagnosis, accelerate, and improve drug development, monitoring, and precision care, and more accurately and sensitively measure disease progression; it will help pharma companies increase the probability of success. NeuraLight is transforming the field of neurology from early detection to drug discovery and thus helping billions of people around the world who are impacted by neurological disorders.
With the new capital, NeuraLight plans to improve the design of neurological clinical trials, increase the probability of success for novel neurological therapeutics, and usher in a new era of precision medicine for neurology. “With so many notable investors and experts in neurology by our side, who see the value in our technology, we’re excited to start implementing it in clinical trials,” concluded Breakstone.
NeuraLight was founded in 2021 by Dr. Micha Breakstone (CEO), a seasoned entrepreneur who exited his previous company (Chorus.ai) for $575 million, and Edmund Ben-Ami (CTO), an award-winning mathematician. They employ 25 people and have a seasoned executive and clinical team to round out its Scientific Advisory Board, which includes two Nobel Laureates -- Professor Thomas Südhof, a world-renowned neuroscientist who won a Nobel Prize for his work on synaptic transmission, and Stanford Professor Alvin Roth who won the 2012 Nobel Prize for his work on the kidney exchange program. To date, the company has raised $30.5 million.