Electroencephalography is a decades-old technique for capturing brain activity, data that are used to evaluate brain disorders. Beacon Biosignals is applying artificial intelligence to these tests, and the neurotechnology startup has found a ready market in pharmaceutical companies interested in assessing how their experimental brain therapies are working. Now Beacon Biosignals has something else: $27 million in financing.
During an electroencephalogram (EEG) procedure, electrodes are affixed to the patient’s scalp. Over a period of time, typically up to an hour, those electrodes capture electrical signals from the brain. By analyzing those signals, clinicians can learn what’s happening with the brain. This insight can help diagnose brain and sleep disorders. However, analyzing EEGs is labor intensive and interpretation of these tests can vary from one clinician to another. Beacon Biosignals says its technology can overcome the limitations of human analysis of EEGs.…Beacon Biosignals has assembled what it claims is one of the world’s largest clinical EEG databases. By applying its proprietary machine-learning algorithms to the database, the company says it has identified neurobiomarkers—biological indicators that are associated with certain groups of patients, drug activity, and therapeutic efficacy.
Founded in 2019 by MD/PhDs and engineers from Harvard and MIT, Beacon’s launch was propelled by the vision of a computing platform designed to scale the interrogation of large brainwave datasets with unprecedented throughput and capability … EEG is standard of care in the clinical diagnosis and management of many neurologic diseases and sleep disorders, but features of clinical significance are often buried in hours of EEG data. Broader uptake of EEG technology has been further limited by labor-intensive workflows and variability in clinician expert interpretation.
“Our current progress has demonstrated that EEG is incredibly information-rich physiologic output reflecting genetic substrate, accumulated exposures and acute neurophysiologic changes, beyond what is captured in MRI, fMRI, CSF analyses or genetic analyses. We have already identified novel electrophysiologic signatures functionally linked to primary cognitive endpoints in Alzheimer’s disease. We’re further encouraged by the applications of our platform toward heterogenous psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder,” said Jacob Donoghue MD, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Beacon. “Beacon is dedicated to helping our biopharma partners accelerate novel therapeutics to reach patients with significant unmet need. We are excited to partner with General Catalyst and Casdin Capital to scale our platform to drive new insights for patient stratification, PK/PD, and efficacy endpoints.”
News in Context:
- Machine-learning study finds EEG brain signatures that predict response to antidepressant treatments
- Kernel raises $53 million to ease access to rich neural data and market Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS)
- Cumulus Neuroscience raises $8.3M to develop EEG-based wireless ‘Fitbit for the brain’
- A call to action: We need the right incentives to guide ethical innovation in neurotech and healthcare
- New report: Empowering 8 Billion Minds via Ethical Development and Adoption of Neurotechnologies