Neurosoft is revolutionizing the way we interact with neural tissue

Flexing neurotech – Neurosoft Bioelectronics develops new implantable electrode technologies that interface with nerve tissue.

Following the launch of our new Neurotech report, we profiled the dynamic and innovative companies that we believe are driving this exciting space – our pioneers. We have nine Neurotechnology Pioneers featured in our report – each profile includes an in-depth analysis of the lead product that offers forensic analysis of product development, effectiveness, target market, marketing channels, success factors , intellectual property and financing.

Here’s the truth about Neurosoft, and to read the full Neurosoft profile (and more!) in our HTML neurotech report, please click here.

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Neurosoft Bioelectronics, a spin-off from EPFL, the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, is focused on developing new implantable electrode technologies to interface with nerve tissue. With over 9 years of expertise, research and development in neurotechnology, the Neurosoft team has developed small, thin implantable electrodes that can both stretch, bend and significantly reduce foreign body reaction and scars associated with traditional implantable devices.

These unique mechanical properties help improve long-term performance even in hard-to-reach areas such as the sulci of the brain and can reduce scar tissue formation around the electrodes. Once implanted, these soft, thin and flexible electrodes can both record and stimulate the brain, which Neurosoft says could be useful in indications such as tinnitus and epilepsy. Ultimately, Neurosoft’s goal is to leverage its technology and create fully implantable brain-computer interfaces to treat serious neurological disorders.

“The therapeutic results of clinical neural implants are limited by their mechanical properties,” explains Nicolas Vachicouras, founder and CEO of Neurosoft Bioelectronics. “Their stiff, rigid designs present a mechanical mismatch to the soft, curved tissues with which they interface, thereby limiting the physiological movement dynamics of the nervous system. At Neurosoft Bioelectronics, we address this problem by engineering the elasticity of thin-film materials to make implantable electrodes that are much more soft and flexible, and can interface seamlessly with the nervous system.

Vachicouras, has always dreamed of the possibilities of biomedical engineering since he learned the mechanisms of the retina in high school. To pursue this dream, Nicolas embarked on microelectronics studies at EPFL and in 2012 joined the Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces Laboratory, directed by Professor Stéphanie Lacour, where he worked on soft microelectronics for neural interfaces.

Inspired by the medical potential of these devices, he pursued various research projects in this field at EPFL and Harvard Medical School, and finally started a thesis with Professor Lacour on the application of these technologies to the clinic. . He initiated the start-up a year before the end of his doctorate and in 2018 Ludovic Serex, Nicolas’ long-time friend, joined the team to share his expertise in microtechnologies (especially clean-room microfabrication).

Neurosoft is a pioneer company in soft bioelectronic interfaces. Other companies competing in this space tend to use plastic-based technologies which can be flexible but, due to the inherent rigidity of these materials, must be made very thin and can have very sharp edges. When interfacing with the brain, sharp edges and rigid materials can damage brain vessels and endanger patient safety. Neurosoft Bioelectronics is one of the only companies in the world to develop truly soft, stretchy and flexible electrodes. This flexible electrode technology can significantly reduce the risk of damaging neural structures, as the devices are 1000 times more flexible and 2 times thinner than current clinical electrodes.

Additionally, they are MRI-compatible and can be easily bent into the sulci, allowing unprecedented access to brain regions that are usually inaccessible. Finally, the integrated electrode sites on the devices can be 100 times smaller in area, providing high resolution for both recording and stimulation.

Patients implanted with Neurosoft’s electrodes should benefit from a reduced risk of scarring and device failure, thereby avoiding complications that may require costly removal and reimplantation of the surgical device. Additionally, the high-resolution recording performance of these electrodes improves the ability to detect disease-related electrical biomarkers, such as epilepsy. Additionally, high-resolution stimulation reduces the risk of off-target stimulation which can usually lead to undesirable side effects.

Neurosoft Bioelectronics has a portfolio of 24 patents, including 11 granted in the United States, Europe and China, relating to its proprietary connector technology, flexible electrode technology and other specific embodiments of their technology. With over nine years of research and development already completed, the level of expertise in this area will be difficult for any other company to emulate.

“A lot of the technologies that are on the market today are all made with the same materials and techniques, regardless of the neurological target they have,” says Vachicouras. “I deeply believe that having soft devices is a smarter way if you interact with softer tissues, like the brain or the spinal cord”

One of Neurosoft’s main goals is to treat severe tinnitus using cortical neuromodulation. To ensure this goal is achieved, the company has partnered with one of the world’s leading experts, Professor de Ridder, who pioneered cortical neuromodulation for tinnitus, and has shown that it There is strong scientific evidence for the effectiveness of neuromodulation when applied to tinnitus, but it didn’t go any further as it lacked the right electrode materials to interface with the neural tissue.

Other academic and research collaborations include partnerships with EPFL and Stephanie Lacour’s lab, where most of the company’s infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities currently reside. The company also has a close relationship with the Wyss Center, a private foundation that supports neurotech start-ups and is known as one of the best neurotech incubators in Europe. Its flexible electrode technology is also currently being tested with other clinical collaborators at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

To ensure that it can collect data on its materials and devices, Neurosoft Bioelectronics has also established strategic relationships with various hospitals and clinics, including Utrecht Medical Center, which is one of the largest epilepsy centers in Europe, the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and the Center Hospitalier Universitaire Lausanne (CHUV).

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