Synchron Gears Up for Large-Scale Brain Implant Trials, Challenging Neuralink

Synchron Advances Toward Large-Scale Brain Implant Trials, Emerging as a Challenger to Neuralink

Synchron Inc., backed by investors including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, is poised to challenge Elon Musk’s Neuralink with its innovative brain implant technology. The company, based in New York, is preparing to recruit patients for a pivotal clinical trial aimed at securing commercial approval for its device, according to CEO Thomas Oxley.

Similar to Neuralink, Synchron aims to help paralyzed patients regain communication abilities through a brain-computer interface (BCI) that translates brain signals into actions or words. Synchron’s approach, however, differs in its use of less invasive endovascular methods, implanting the device through blood vessels rather than open brain surgery.

The upcoming trial, which aims to enrol dozens of participants, has garnered interest from over 120 clinical trial centres. This move aims to prevent bottlenecks in patient recruitment, as emphasized by Oxley.

Having received preliminary U.S. authorization in July 2021, Synchron has already implanted its device in six patients without serious adverse effects, following successful initial trials in Australia. The company is now analyzing U.S. data in preparation for the larger trial while awaiting FDA approval.

Synchron’s device targets patients paralyzed due to conditions such as ALS, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. Testing the device on stroke patients presents particular challenges due to potential severe brain damage limiting neural signals.

The company’s collaboration with renowned medical centers such as Mount Sinai in New York, the University at Buffalo Neurosurgery, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center underscores its commitment to advancing the technology.

While Neuralink has implanted its device in a single patient, both companies are yet to receive final FDA approval for their brain implants. Nonetheless, the race to develop a successful BCI remains pivotal, given its potential to assist individuals with neurological conditions.

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