About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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April 27, 2006

Fighting Addiction at MIT

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Posted by Zack Lynch

reward_pathway.jpgIf I were back in Boston, this would be an event I wouldn't miss. The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT presents "On Addiction," a major conference that will bring scientists together with clinicians, public policy makers and former addicts to confront a disease that affects more than 22 million Americans every year (NOT including nicotine addiction?!) Long viewed as a psychological weakness, addiction is now recognized as a disease caused by complex chemical reactions in the reward circuitry of the brain. Understanding these fundamental processes on the cellular and molecular level may yield key insights into potential addiction treatments and cures. Monday, May 8, 8:45-4:45 pm. (Photo: The reward pathway)

Topics for discussion include:
-Neuroscience and the challenge of undoing addiction.
-The addicted brain: What distinguishes the true addict from the habitual user?
-Brain disorder or character flaw? Public ignorance and the stigma of addiction.
-New treatments for the compulsive behaviors that underlie drug and alcohol abuse.

Moderated by Ira Flatow, National Public Radio

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues

April 26, 2006

Tyler Cowan on Neuroeconomics and iTunes

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Posted by Zack Lynch

206-1.gifFor those of you who missed Tyler Cowan's article in the NYTimes last week, here is a bit he shares on his group blog Marginal Revolution (visit MR to access the full article):

"Not all of neuro-economics uses brain scans. Andrew W. Lo, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, applied polygraph-like techniques to securities traders to show that anxiety and fear affect market behavior. Measuring eye movements, which is easy and cheap, helps the researcher ascertain what is on a subject's mind. Other researchers have opened up monkey skulls to measure individual neurons; monkey neurons fire in proportion to the amount and probability of rewards. But do most economists care? Are phrases like "nucleus accumbens" — referring to a subcortical nucleus of the brain associated with reward — welcome in a profession caught up in interest rates and money supply? Skeptics question whether neuro-economics explains real-world phenomena...

The next step? Perhaps neuro-economics should turn its attention to political economy. Do people use the same part of their brains to vote as to trade? Is voting governed by fear, disgust or perhaps the desire to gain something new and exciting?"

I can't wait for Tyler to get a hold of my forthcoming book, Our Emerging Neurosociety: How Brain Science Is Radically Re-Shaping Business, Politics and Culture. But in the meantime, I hope he continues to answer the really deep questions like why do all songs on iTunes cost 99 cents?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroeconomics

Unusual Care and Quality

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Harry Tracy is one of the world's most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to neuropharma, and here are the kind words he sent out to his subscribers earlier this week regarding our upcoming conference.

In the past, NI Research has not publicized any of the many neuro-oriented
conferences that have crossed our radar. But we are making an exception for
the May 18 conference being organized by NeuroInsights (not affiliated with
NI Research in any way), to be held in San Francisco. It has been developed
with unusual care and quality. Information is attached regarding the
'particulars.' I believe it will be very worthwhile, and I plan to attend.


Harry Tracy

We greatly appreciate the acknowledgement and support.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurotech Industry

April 18, 2006

Neurotechnology Revenues Reach $110 Billion Says New Report on the Brain Industry

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Posted by Zack Lynch

The Neurotechnology Industry 2006 Report is finally finished and available.

Neurotechnology Revenues Reach $110 Billion Says New Report on the Brain Industry: NeuroInsights Reveals Investment Trends, Market Opportunities and Product Pipelines of 450 Neurotech Companies

188_The_Neurotech_Industry_2006_Report.jpgSAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 18, 2006--NeuroInsights, the neurotechnology market authority, today announced the release of the industry's second annual comprehensive investment and business analysis of the global neurotechnology marketplace. In the report, NeuroInsights provides a unified market-based framework to help investors, companies, and governments easily quantify opportunities, determine risks and understand the dynamics of this rapidly changing market.

"The Neurotechnology Industry 2006 Report: Market Analysis and Strategic Investment Guide of the Global Neurological Disease and Psychiatric Illness Markets," is a 330-page report tracking developments at over 450 public and private companies involved in neurotech. The report includes competitive analysis and clinical trials by market segment for more than a dozen disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, addiction, anxiety, attention disorders, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, stroke and other brain-related illnesses.

The Neurotechnology Industry 2006 Report's findings include:

-- Neurotech products generated revenues of $110 billion in 2005 with 10% growth. The three sectors contributed as follows: neuropharmaceuticals with revenues of $93 billion and 7% growth; neurodevices with revenues of $3.4 billion and 21% growth; and neurodiagnostics with revenues of $13.5 billion and 11% growth.

-- Venture capital investment in neurotech companies climbed 230% from 1999 to 2005, representing nearly $7.5 billion. Today, one-in-four VC dollars invested in life sciences goes to neurotechnology companies.

-- NeuroInsights' Neurotech Index, an investment benchmark that measures the stock performance of 30 publicly traded neurotechnology companies, which was started December 31, 2003, was up 85%, as of March 31st, 2006, compared to gains of 16% in both the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite Index.

-- Neurological disease and psychiatric illness represent the largest and fastest growing unmet medical market: over 1.5 billion people worldwide and 100 million individuals in North America alone.

"2005 was another solid growth year for neurotech companies with heavy merger and acquisition activity," said Zack Lynch, managing director of NeuroInsights. "In 2005, new drugs and devices were approved for unmet medical needs in insomnia, depression, and stroke. Substantial venture investment, particularly in specialty pharmaceuticals and neurodevices, continues to drive future growth."

Developments in the neurotechnology industry will be discussed at NeuroInsights' annual Neurotech Industry Investing and Business Conference to be held on May 18th, 2006, at the Westin San Francisco in Millbrae, California. The market-defining conference will feature 40 neurotech executives and investors discussing the critical trends driving the development new drugs, devices and diagnostics for the brain and nervous system.

Pricing and Availability

"The Neurotechnology Industry 2006 Report: Market Analysis and Strategic Investment Guide of the Global Neurological Disease and Psychiatric Illness Markets" is available immediately. The cost of the report is $4,500 and can be ordered directly at or by calling 415-229-3225.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NeuroInsights

April 17, 2006

Stanford's Neuroethics and Neurotech News

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Posted by Zack Lynch

As always, Stanford's monthly neuroethics newsletter has some very relevant links. Now if I could only convince them to put this in blog format so I wouldn't have to create individual links for each one of these articles. Enjoy.
Imaging May Help with Depression” -, April 3, 2006
Study Finds Brain Imaging Could Predict Best Depression Therapy” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 5, 2006
On Advertising: Better Ads with MRIs?” - International Herald Tribune, March 26, 2006
Neuroscience for Kids – Neuroethics” - Neuroscience for Kids, April 4, 2006
Brain Cells Fused with Computer Chip, March 27, 2006
Why is a Woman's Brain Smaller Than a Man's? Maybe Because She’s a Fox
Times Online.UK, April 3, 2006
Working Memory Key to Breakthroughs in Cognitive Neuroscience” - Washington University-St. Louis, April 3, 2006
Diffusion Tensor Imaging” - MIT Technology Review, March/April 2006
Conscious, Unconscious Memory Found Linked” -, April 4, 2006

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroethics

April 14, 2006

April 13, 2006

Depression Targeted with Neurodevices Not Drugs

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Posted by Zack Lynch

From this month's Neurotech Insights investment newsletter focused on the depression market:

While drugs to treat depression have proven effective for millions of individuals there exist a significant number of patients who do not respond to antidepressants. Treatment resistant depression, or refractory depression, is a condition that affects an estimated 4 million people in the U.S. and 11 million worldwide. Until recently, there were no options for these individuals beyond treatment with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which commonly induces memory loss among other issues. Today, several neurodevice approaches for the treatment of refractory depression are emerging including Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS).

The first neurodevice to be approved by the FDA for depression was Cyberonics’ VNS Therapy system. On July 15, 2005, the FDA approved Cyberonics’ VNS Therapy as a long-term adjunctive treatment for patients 18 years of age or older with chronic or recurrent treatment-resistant depression in a major depressive episode that have not responded to at least four adequate antidepressant treatments. Chronic treatment-resistant depression is defined as being in the current depressive episode for more than two years. Recurrent treatment-resistant depression is defined as having a history of multiple prior episodes of depression. The approved indication for use includes patients with unipolar or bipolar depression in a major depressive episode.

This is the first time an implanted device has been approved by the FDA for treatment of a psychiatric illness. VNS Therapy was already approved for sale in the European Union and in Canada as a treatment of depression in patients with treatment-resistant or treatment-intolerant major depressive episodes including unipolar depression and bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. Currently over 550 people have a VNS implant for treatment resistant depression. Another 7,000 people are currently seeking approval from their insurance companies for the $25,000 operation, according to the Washington Post.

170_Neurotech_Insights_cover_c_copy.jpgThe second neurodevice technique being investigated as a potential treatment for refractory depression is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Over 30,000 people have been implanted with DBS systems for the treatment of movement disorders in people with severe tremor or Parkinson’s disease and now there are attempts to use it to treat depression. DBS devices resemble cardiac pacemakers, except that the stimulation electrodes are implanted in specific areas of the brain rather than the heart. Medtronic is currently developing a DBS product called Kinetra for depression. For the foreseeable future, the market for neurostimulators for depression is limited to the severest population of approximately 300,000 in the U.S. with 15,000 new cases emerging each year.

A third neurostimulation technique that is currently being used to treat severe depression is repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). rTMS has one very important advantage over the other techniques, it does not require brain surgery. Instead the external devices deliver brief magnetic field pulses through the cranium. The pulses induce a perpendicular electrical current that affect neurons in the superficial cortical layers—either increasing or diminishing activity. There are some studies that suggest that TMS directed at the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex might be useful as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy in treating severe or treatment-resistant major depression.

Canada’s MindCare Centres opened their first rTMS clinics for depression in 2004 where rTMS is now approved for treatment resistant depression. MindCare uses a computer controlled magnetic beam applied 20 minutes a day. Some researchers believe that rTMS may apply to many treatment resistant patients in the following markets: depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, tinnitus, pain, Parkinson's, migraines, aphasia, stroke (right after event), eating disorders, and addiction.

Note, more technologies, like transcranial direct current stimulation may be on the way.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurodevices

April 12, 2006

Neurotech Industry Investing Conference - May 18th - Register Today

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Posted by Zack Lynch


Join investors, executives and leading researchers from across neurotech to discuss the latest developments in drugs, devices and diagnostics for the brain and nervous system on May 18th in San Francisco.

The Neurotech Industry Investing and Business Conference is a one-day conference featuring keynotes on the state of the neurotech industry, cutting edge company presentations, and panel discussions on a comprehensive selection of neurotech topics of interest to biotech, medtech, and IT investors and executives.

We've brought together over 40 speakers to discuss next generation treatments for Alzheimer's, addiction, anxiety, depression, pain, sensory disorders, obesity, stroke, schizophrenia, sleep disorders, epilepsy, Parkinson's and more.

If you are involved in neurotech or are interested in accelerating your learning curve in this exceptional investment arena, you should seriously attend this event. Due to the fact that it is a first year conference we chose a smaller venue which means there is a limited seating capacity and the room is filling up. So this is a reminder to the thousands of Brain Waves readers to register or forever hold your peace.

See NeuroInsights for more details and to download a complete brochure.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: VC for Neurotech

April 7, 2006

Pifzer Buys Rinat Neuroscience - Neurotech M&A Remains Hot

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Pfizer is reportedly paying hundreds of millions of dollars for Rinat Neurosciences, a neuropharma company that has been developing therapies for pain, Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Pfizer has been rapidly adding to its pipeline by avidly buying up developers with promising therapies. Rinat has gained a reputation for its work on injectable protein-based therapies. The CEO of Rinat said that licensing talks turned to an offer of a buyout.

This is just another sign that a growing number of neurotech companies are going to establish their best valuation by an outright acquisition. With big pharma companies scrambling for new drugs and armed with billions of newly repatriated dollars, smaller biotech companies are looking like good investments. Add a somewhat sour market environment for IPOs and you have all the ingredients necessary for a big wave of acquisitions.

For a comprehensive analysis of neurotech M&A see the newly released Neurotechnology Industry 2006 Report.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurotech Industry