The worldwide market for neurotechnology products in healthcare was estimated to be over $1 billion in 2001 and was projected to grow to over $4 billion by 2005* The growing need for medical neurotechnology is being fueled by the aging of our society and by a growing interest in the use of medical technology not only to extend life, but perhaps more importantly, to improve the quality of life.
The Center plans to capitalize on this growing market through collaborations
and partnerships. The Center has strong relationships with several medical
institutes including Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, where
Dr. Abbas also serves as director of Clinical Rehabilitation Engineering. The
Center has also established research collaborations with clinicians and scientists
at the Barrows Neurological Institute, Mayo Scottsdale and Arizona School of
Health Sciences and has a long-term collaboration with investigators at Case
Western Reserve University. New projects also involve collaborations with clinician
research at Maricopa Country Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale
and University of Michigan.
The Center Directors have started two companies, both of which actively collaborate
with the Center. Dr. Jung started AdveNSys in early 2004 to develop adaptive
neural systems for restoring and advancing human mobility. Dr. Abbas started
customKYnetics, Inc in 2000 to develop and commercialize assistive devices
and exercise systems for people with neurological disabilities. Center researchers
are currently collaborating with AdveNSys, under an ARMY STTR Phase II grant,
to develop a neuromorphic control system for powered limb splints. Center researchers
are also collaborating with customKYnetics, Inc, under an NIH SBIR grant, to
develop and evaluate a system to assist with daily activities while seated.
Other projects are collaborative efforts with industrial partners including
Three Rivers, LLC, which is based in Mesa, Arizona.
The Center model has several features that make it well suited for venture
capital investment. Biomedical devices require roughly 7 percent of the
investment that drugs do - only $20 to $60 million to develop and bring the
device to market versus $850 million for a new drug. FDA approval time is much
shorter, averaging only one year. The Center's approach is to not only generate
ideas for novel therapy, but also to develop and evaluate those ideas through
extensive animal and human trials. The end result is a technology that is more
mature with reduced risk and time-to-market and an increase in value of the
intellectual property. A second important feature of the Center's research
agenda is that it includes the development of techniques, such as functional
assessment tools, which can be brought to market without regulatory approval.
These efforts could have a rapid impact on the delivery and cost of healthcare
in the field of rehabilitation.
*Neurtotech Reports: The Market for Neurotechnology: 2001-2005
The Center holds grant funding in excess of $5 million. Recent grants include a $1.4 million grant from NIH’s National Center for Research Resources to purchase a sophisticated imaging system (7T/30 com bore Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Spectroscopy System) an $870,000 grant from the NIH’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research to develop an adaptive electrical stimulation system for locomotor retraining, a $404,000 grant from NIH’s National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to design, fabricate and test a MEMS-based neural clamp aimed to record signals from the spinal ventral roots that may someday power “smart prosthetics,” and a $1.3 million computational neuroscience grant from NIH’s National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to investigate the interactions between the impaired nervous system and the body mechanics after spinal cord injury.
Other NIH and FDA-funded projects sponsor collaborative efforts to bring new electrical stimulation devices into clinical practice.