Graphene Flagship spin-off INBRAIN signs collaboration with Merck to develop next-generation bioelectronics
Leading pharmaceutical company Merck will collaborate with INBRAIN to develop smart neuromodulation for targeted treatment of chronic diseases.
Our Graphene Flagship partner INBRAIN Neuroelectronics, Spain, has announced a new collaboration with Merck, a leading science and technology company. INBRAIN is a Graphene Flagship, ICN2, and ICREA spin-off company at the intersection of medtech, deeptech and digital health dedicated to developing the world’s first graphene-based intelligent neuroelectronic systems. The aim of this collaboration is to develop the next generation of graphene bioelectronics for vagus nerve therapies, which will target severe chronic diseases in Merck’s therapeutic areas.
“This partnership highlights the interest of key industrial players on novel graphene-based, minimally invasive electronic therapies, which will enable precise signal coding for patients with debilitating, systemic, chronic conditions,” says Carolina Aguilar, Co-founder & CEO of Graphene Flagship partner INBRAIN Neuroelectronics. “Our shared mission is to improve outcomes for these patients, who live with scarce information about their conditions and little control over their journey.”
“We aim to accelerate developments in the emerging field of bioelectronics by boosting the novel modality of selective neurostimulation,” said Laura Matz, Chief Science and Technology Officer of Merck. “Today’s agreement with gives Merck access to a unique technology that increases energy efficiency in neurostimulators and could therefore become a true enabler for digital personalized treatment of patients suffering from severe and chronic diseases such as inflammatory disorders.”
Both INBRAIN and Merck will closely collaborate over the next few years to actively drive this potential paradigm change in treating diseases with high unmet medical needs. With its bioelectronics research facilities, Merck is well equipped to build on its data science, clinical, regulatory, and quality expertise to bring novel devices to patients in the near future. INBRAIN will add its technical expertise in the development of graphene interfaces, device development, and signal processing for clinical applications. Initial work will focus on inflammatory, metabolic, and endocrine disorders, using the promising capabilities of graphene for miniaturization, precision, and high modulation efficiency in the vagus nerve.
"This collaboration showcases the unique innovation landscape created in Europe by initiatives like the Graphene Flagship," says Kari Hjelt, Head of Innovation of the Graphene Flagship. "I'm truly delighted to see key industry players like Merck partner up with our spin-off company INBRAIN Neuroelectronics, which demonstrates the true potential of graphene in the medtech and deeptech fields," he adds. "Furthermore, their collaborative studies will certainly shed light on the possibilities of graphene for other bioelectronic applications, creating new opportunities that align perfectly with our Graphene Flagship roadmap."
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