INESC TEC spin-off awarded €100K to expand clinical trials in patients with Parkinson’s disease

The spin-off inSignals Neurotech, dedicated to the development of medical devices for the quantification of motor symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, in order to obtain better clinical results, received €100K through the INNOV-ID funding call – an initiative promoted by Portugal Ventures, focusing on the measures established by the Government to capitalise Portuguese companies during the pandemic.

inSignals Neurotech will use the funds to accelerate the validation and development of patented technology, namely a solution to support deep brain stimulation surgeries in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The financial support will also enable the validation of other applications in the field of neurology and expand the bioengineering team.

“There is a gap in the objective analysis of neurological motor symptoms. The progress undergone by the inSignals’ team in the assessment of rigidity during deep brain surgeries is attracting much interest among leading industry experts. This funding from Portugal Ventures will expand the clinical studies currently underway, in partnership with some of the most experienced neurologists in Europe. It is also a starting point to leverage international funds, in order to bring to the market solutions that will support doctors in assessing several neurological diseases in innovative ways”, said João Paulo Cunha, co-founder of inSignals Neurotech, coordinator at INESC TEC’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research (C-BER) and professor at Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP).

More specifically, the company will be able to expand preliminary clinical trials, strengthen its intellectual property position and increase its team. InSignals was selected as ‘One to Watch’ in the ‘Nature Spinoff Prize’, promoted by the prestigious scientific magazine Nature, having already attracted the interest of potential partners in the industry sector. At the moment, the company is finalising collaboration agreements to promote multicentre clinical studies in different countries: Portugal, Holland, Germany and Spain.

The spin-off was created in 2019 as a result of of the research conducted in the biomedical engineering area

The spin-off was established in 2019 at the Institute for Systems and Computers Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), with Frontier IP – experts in the commercialisation of intellectual property resulting from academic activities – as a shareholder, and support by the University Hospital Centre of São João. The first product developed by inSignals targets patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and it could help pharmaceutical companies monitoring or assessing the impact of newly approved drugs to reduce wrist stiffness.

“This solution went through three clinical trials with 59 patients, showing that it can actually support neurologists and neurosurgeons assessing the muscle rigidity caused by Parkinson’s disease in a more objective way, thus improving the precision of implant placement”, stated Rui Vaz, head of the neurosurgery department at CHUSJ, part of this multicentre and international endeavour, a pioneer neurosurgeon in this field, in Portugal, and also a full professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (FMUP).

The INNOV-ID call focuses on supporting scientific or technological projects and companies whose technologies/activities have concrete influence when it comes to the decarbonisation of economy, the sustainability of processes, products and materials, a greater energy efficiency and sustainability or the circular economy. Portugal Ventures, a venture capital company part of the Banco Português de Fomento group, is responsible for managing €184M, with a portfolio including more than 100 businesses. The company invests in start-ups developing innovative solutions, while providing internationalisation support, in the fields of Digital solutions, Engineering & Industry, Life Sciences and Tourism – namely in the pre-seed, seed and series A phases.

The INESC TEC researcher mentioned in this news piece is associated with UP-FEUP.



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