CEO: Sjaak Deckers
Based: Lausanne, Switzerland
G-Therapeutics, a spinoff from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, is developing a therapy combining a spinal cord implant with gravity-assisted training. It’s early-stage, and the company says it’s working on “scientific breakthroughs in animal models and preliminary clinical studies.” In April 2016, G-Therapeutics raised €36 million ($41 million) in a Series A round and debt to finish off its development stages, and then kick-start clinical tests for its Implantable Neuro-stimulation System (INS) to restore lower limb function.
What makes G-Therapeutics fierce
Creating a technology that helps people who cannot walk is up there with a cure for cancer: It would drastically change the lives of those who have suffered from a major disability for the better and is one of the holy grails in med tech.
As the company says, it wants to “bring a unique, new therapy for improved rehabilitation of spinal-cord injuries from the lab to patients,” and it wants to use the ability of the brain to help repair itself.
The big idea, incubated for over a decade in animal models, has seen the company design a new tech that can restore voluntary control of the legs after a spinal cord injury.
G-Therapeutics’ INS system works with real-time motion feedback and is designed to use training tools to rehabilitate patients. The company has started off its work focusing on paraplegic patients with incomplete spinal cord injury, due to a lesion in the cervical or thoracic segments of the spinal cord.
In the short term, electrical stimulation of the lumbar spinal cord “reawakens” the neuronal circuits that coordinate leg movements. In the long term, rehabilitation enabled by this stimulation, as well as new gravity assistance tech, is designed to promote a reorganization of neuronal pathways.
The combination of electrical spinal cord stimulation and gravity-assisted physical training helps spur the innate ability of a patient’s nervous system to reorganize after injury.
What to look for
G-Therapeutics and its backers are betting on this technology to enable and guide the remodeling of neural circuits, thus helping the brain to help itself. Having nabbed $41 million last spring, the company is taking its tech through clinical trials en route to regulatory submission. — Ben Adams, @FierceBiotech