BioCircuit Technologies Receives $4.6 Million NIH Award

Seeks to translate a therapeutic device for rehabilitation after spinal cord injury

Atlanta, Georgia, UNITED STATES

Atlanta, GA, May 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BioCircuit Technologies, a development-stage medical device company, received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a $1.7 million grant with the intent to fund $4.6 million over five years. The award will be shared with partnering laboratories at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies (NCAN) at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY, to develop a system for enhanced rehabilitation after incomplete spinal cord injury and other disorders such as stroke and multiple sclerosis. 

This project is sponsored by the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and administered through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program’s U44 mechanism, which seeks to support medical devices on the verge of a clinical trial.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) affects as many as 450,000 people in the US, with the injury most often being incomplete.  Incomplete SCI often disrupts spinal reflexes, causing spasticity and motor impairments that are poorly addressed by existing therapies.

Spinal reflex conditioning is a novel type of therapy training that targets specific reflex pathways. Through device-driven feedback and practice, the patient learns to modify the brain’s control over the targeted reflex pathway. Continued training brings about long-lasting change as well as beneficial plasticity in other pathways. This approach has been demonstrated in human SCI patients to reduce limping and increase walking speed. This project will develop and validate a novel, non-invasive system for the practical deployment of spinal reflex conditioning therapies.

The joint partnership is led by principal investigators: Isaac Clements, PhD, of BioCircuit Technologies, Aiko Thompson, PhD at MUSC, Jonathan Wolpaw, MD, at NCAN.

“I feel fortunate to be surrounded by a team of such talented engineers and esteemed partners on the academic and clinical side, all working together to enhance therapies for people suffering from neuromuscular disorders,” said Isaac Clements, CTO, and co-founder of BioCircuit.

Dr. Jonathan Wolpaw of NCAN, the original pioneer of spinal reflex conditioning techniques, comments, “the work we are taking on is the next natural and important step in our forty years of research on this topic, to maximize its benefits for society.”

Dr. Aiko Thompson led the first clinical studies of spinal reflex conditioning therapies to improve gait and will conduct the clinical testing of the device at MUSC. Dr. Thompson states, “I look forward to working with BioCircuit to translate our clinical research into accessible treatments so that people with SCI and other neuromuscular disorders can achieve the best functional recovery possible.” 

Michelle Jarrard, CEO of BioCircuit, states, “BioCircuit deeply appreciates this NIH support, which will fund development through the pilot clinical trial stage. We would also like to acknowledge the crucial support we received at our inception from local state entities - the Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Tech, and the GRA Venture Fund." 

“We are very pleased to see the NIH supporting innovation that translates research insight into clinical devices,” said Fran Rogers, Chair, GRA Venture Fund, LLC. “This undertaking will leverage BioCircuit’s unique technology to improve the lives of people suffering from SCI and other debilitating disorders.”

About BioCircuit Technologies 

BioCircuit Technologies develops medical devices providing non-invasive access to nerve and muscle activity. Designed for ease-of-use and reliability, these devices enable more targeted therapies and more precise diagnosis. BioCircuit also develops implantable devices for surgical nerve repair. 

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, BioCircuit has received generous funding from numerous NIH grants. In addition to ongoing grant support, BioCircuit has attracted private financing, including investment from the GRA Venture Fund, Masters Capital, and Alsora Capital. 

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