It’s electric! A startup emerged from stealth this week with grand plans to pioneer a new form of neurotech dubbed “electric medicine.”
Elemind’s approach centers on artificial intelligence-powered algorithms that are trained to continuously analyze neurological activity collected by a noninvasive wearable device, then to deliver through the wearable bursts of neurostimulation that are uniquely tailored to those real-time brain wave readings.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company claims that its approach—which is based on research from its founders, a group of high-profile scientists hailing from the likes of MIT, Stanford and Harvard—offers a more “natural” treatment option than pharmaceuticals for neurological conditions like insomnia, essential tremor and memory loss.
“Chemical drugs affect the entire body, often leading to unwanted side effects. Elemind offers a nonchemical, direct and on-demand solution that learns and dynamically adjusts to each person,” Meredith Perry, a co-founder of Elemind and its CEO, said in the company’s debut announcement. “We’re the first and only company able to precisely guide and redirect brainwaves in real time.”
The company has yet to unveil its physical hardware, but noted that its first application will be as a “general wellness device,” allowing it to avoid undergoing FDA review before launching.
Alongside Perry, who’s best known for inventing the ultrasound-based wireless charging technology uBeam, the founding Elemind team also includes Ed Boyden, Ph.D., a serial neurotech founder who helped start Cognito Therapeutics, as well as Known Medicine and Iota Biosciences alum Ryan Neely, Ph.D., in addition to a handful of other neuroscience and AI experts.
That expertise, combined with the potential of the electric medicine approach, has garnered Elemind attention from several investors: The company emerged from stealth this week with $12 million in seed funding already in its pocket.
First to come aboard was Village Global, the early-stage venture fund that counts Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Ann Wojcicki among its backers. It was followed by LDV Partners—which sent partner Qing Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., to join Elemind’s board—as well as investment funds based at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and individuals including the founders of Boston Scientific and Skype, among several other investors.
In the years leading up to its primetime debut, the scientists behind Elemind have conducted a handful of studies to back their technological approach.
In one, the results of which were published in Nature Communications in 2021, the electric medicine technology was proven able to suppress essential tremor within just a few seconds. Meanwhile, two others that were each published on preprint servers last month show how the neurotech could potentially accelerate the onset of sleep and strengthen the memories of healthy young adults, respectively.
“Elemind broke new ground with an algorithm that allows for instantaneous neuromodulation. Each brain is unique and constantly changing, so we leverage AI and ML to optimize stimulation parameters to achieve the desired state the fastest,” David Wang, Ph.D., another of Elemind’s co-founders and its CTO, said in this week’s release. “You can think about it like noise cancellation for the mind—our technology uses phase-locking auditory stimuli to align precisely with the user’s brainwaves and steer them to a different frequency associated with a different state.”