Cervel Neurotech snags $14.1M for anti-depression device

Cervel Neurotech CEO Eric Meier

As more and more data supports brain stimulation therapy to treat pain and depression, Cervel Neurotech has hauled in $14.1 million in venture funding to develop its noninvasive device.

Cervel's technology uses transcranial magnetic stimulation, administered through coils outside a patient's skull, to treat depression and pain. The device, called Steerable TMS, can stimulate surface and deep-brain tissues, Cervel says, and its novel delivery system allows it to target its magnetism and focus treatment.

Returning investors D. E. Shaw Ventures and Aberdare Ventures pitched in for the round, joining two unnamed new financiers in what CEO Eric Meier said is a validation of Cervel's technology.

"Specifically, this financing enables us to continue to demonstrate the highly differentiated nature of our platform for the treatment of psychiatric and neurologic conditions," Meier said in a statement. "Our clinical pilot studies in depression and pain have yielded promising safety and effectiveness data, and this funding will allow us to undertake the larger-scale clinical activities required to further validate our novel approach to delivering transcranial magnetic therapy."

The latest funding gives Cervel a total of $23 million raised, a spokeswoman said, and the company is staying quiet as to when it plans to seek a CE mark or FDA approval.

Cervel's technology is among a fleet of new devices designed to treat depression without the use of fickle pharmaceuticals. The company joins Israel's Brainsway and Pennsylvania's Neuronetics in targeting the disorder with transcranial magnetic stimulation, while companies like Medtronic ($MDT) and St. Jude Medical ($STJ) approach depression with implantable deep-brain stimulators.

- read Cervel's announcement

Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect comments from the company.