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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.
Follow me on Twitter at @neurorev
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May 27, 2009

Neurotechnology Industry 2009 Report Released

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Posted by Zack Lynch

200_NIR_CoverShot_B_200.jpgWe have released our fifth annual comprehensive investment guide and market analysis of the global neurological disease and psychiatric illness markets. The 480-page report enables investors, companies and governments to identify opportunities, calculate risks and understand the dynamics of this continually changing market.

Specific findings from The Neurotechnology Industry 2009 Report show that in 2008:

- 2 billion individuals worldwide suffered from a brain-related illness
- Over 550 public and private companies participated in neurotech worldwide
- Venture capital investment in neurotechnology fell 22% to $1.44 billion
- More than 250 venture investors were involved in neurotech financings
- Global neurotech industry revenues rose 9.0% to $144.5 billion
- Neuropharmaceuticals recorded revenues of $121.6 billion and 9.3% annual growth
- Neurodevices recorded revenues of $6.1 billion and 18.6% annual growth
- Neurodiagnostics recorded revenues of $16.8 billion and 3.7% annual growth
- The annual economic burden of brain-related illnesses is over $2 trillion

The Neurotechnology Industry 2009 Report: Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics for the Brain and Nervous System comprehensively tracks pipelines and products in development globally to help guide strategic business development and investment decisions in neurotech.

The 2009 report provides an in-depth look at more than 16 brain and nervous system disorders and treatments in development at over 550 public and private companies, including: Alzheimer's disease, addiction, ADHD, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, migraine, mild cognitive impairment, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, age-related macular degeneration, sensory disorders, sleep disorders, stroke and traumatic brain injury. Corporate financing, market activity, growth drivers and global industry conditions that make up the obstacles and opportunities facing the industry are fully assessed with detailed insights.

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May 22, 2009

Future Neurotech Innovation: Stem Cells and Neuroregeneration

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Posted by Zack Lynch

47.jpgThe brain has extremely limited capabilities to repair itself, but new strategies are emerging to improve the brain’s ability to regenerate lost neurons and to facilitate the incorporation of implanted stem cells into brain circuitry. There are currently at least eight private and three public companies developing neuroregeneration cell transplant therapies. More than $450 million in venture funding has been invested in companies working on cell replacement and stem cell therapies for brain and spinal cord disorders.

There are significant challenges to overcome when considering the use of implanted cells for neurological diseases. For example, inducing a cell to differentiate into a skin cell or a liver cell is likely to be easier than inducing it to form precise connections with another area of the brain. The chemical signals for forming the appropriate connections in the brain may be present only during certain times of development. Additionally, the character and connections of these new cells must be stable. Despite these complexities, stem cell therapies offer the potential for outright cures to some
neurological diseases.

Recently, we have seen progress in bringing these treatments into human trials. A California company has been in clinical testing of fetal stem cells to treat Batten’s disease since 2005 and expects to complete their Phase I study in early 2009. In December 2008, they received FDA approval to begin trials in a second disorder, Pelizaeus–Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal brain disorder that affects mainly young children. In February 2009, the first embryonic stem cell trial for spinal cord injury treatment was also approved. These are slow and precautious steps, centering on untreatable disorders, but cell-based therapeutic candidates for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke will soon follow.

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May 21, 2009

The Future of Neurotechnology Innovation Part 1

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Posted by Zack Lynch

EBcover.gifThe journal Epilepsy & Behavior just published an article I wrote for a new section they've introduced on technological approaches to the scientific explorations of epilepsy and behavior. In The Future of Neurotechnology Innovation I review advances across several areas of neurotech research including stem cells treatments, new imaging technologies, drug delivery technologies and novel neuromodulation platforms and posit that these will be the primary avenues by which researchers will acclerate the development of treatments and cures for brain-related illnesses over the next decade. Over the coming week I'll be sharing key pieces of the article here, starting with the introduction.

Neurological diseases and psychiatric illnesses account for more hospitalizations, long-term care, and chronic suffering than nearly all other health conditions combined. Beyond the untold human suffering, the annual economic burden of brain-related illnesses has reached more than $1 trillion in the United States. Critical unmet medical needs remain in almost every area of brain and nervous system disorders, including: Alzheimer’s disease, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson’s disease, sensory disorders, spinal cord injury, stroke, schizophrenia, sleep disorders, and traumatic brain injury.

An increasing awareness of this growing economic problem and the corresponding market opportunity of nearly 2 billion people worldwide are stimulating both public and private funding in neurotechnology including new drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics for brain and peripheral nervous system disorders. Recent advances in neuroscience have dramatically expanded our understanding of the basic biological and behavioral components of brain-related illnesses. In particular, an increasing number of neurotransmitters, neurotransmitter receptors, ion channels, and other proteins critical for normal brain functioning have been identified and characterized genetically engineered animal models have improved target validation and neuroimaging techniques have made it easier to study what occurs in the injured and healthy brain. Although great strides have been made over the past decade, technological advances across several areas of research and development hold promise for the development of even more efficacious treatments and, for the first time, cures for brain and peripheral nervous system disorders. These areas include stem cell treatments, new imaging technologies, drug delivery technologies, and novel neuromodulation platforms.

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May 6, 2009

Neurotech 2009 Next Week in SF, May 11-13

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Posted by Zack Lynch

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Our annual conference is next week and we have a fantastic line up of over 70 speakers. This is why a record number of participants are now registered for the 4th annual Neurotech Conference in San Francisco next week. What do you have to gain?

- Find out about new product licensing and partnering opportunities
- Discover emerging technologies and companies
- Learn what venture and strategic investors are looking for
- Hear about cutting edge translational research and funding opportunities
- Meet and network with decision makers from across commercial neuroscience

Register Now - View Agenda with 70 Presenting Neurotech Executives

Join confirmed attendees who are now using the participant directory to network and set up one-on-one meetings: Aberdare Ventures, Accera, Accelemed, Adlyfe, Advanced Brain Monitoring, Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Alfred Mann Foundation, Alpha Omega, Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, Alzheimer's Research Forum and SWAN, ARCH Venture Partners, Arcion Therapeutics, Athena Technology Ventures, Autonomic Technologies, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Avineuro Pharmaceuticals, Azevan Pharmaceuticals, Banyan Biomarkers, Bay City Capital, Bayhill Therapeutics, BCC Partners, Betterhumans, BioBehavioral Diagnostics, BioBusiness TV, BioCentury, Biotechnology Value Fund, BiotechPartnering Solutions, Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, Brain Resource, Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, BrainCells Inc., BrainScope Company, Brown Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, CCC Medical Devices, Center for BioEntrepreneurship UCSF, Ceregene, CHDI , Cloudera, Cognitive Drug Research, CollabRx, CoMentis, Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine, Corcept Therapeutics, CorTechs Labs Inc, Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Creative Commons, CureNeuro, Cyberonics, Cypress Bioscience, Cytox Group, D. E. Shaw Ventures, De Novo Ventures, Desitin Arzneimittel GMBH, DLA Piper, Electrical Geodesics, Eli Lilly and Company, Elminda , Elsevier Business Intelligence, Embera NeuroTherapeutics, Eos Neuroscience, Epilepsy Foundation, Epilepsy Therapy Project, EpiNano, Ernst Gallo Research Center, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Fast Forward, FasterCures, Feinstein Kean Healthcare, Flywheel Ventures, Genentech, Genesys Capital, Genzyme Corporation, George Greenstein Institute, Gladstone Institutes, Great Lakes BioSciences, HLM Venture Partners, Hoffmann-La Roche, Huntington's Disease Society of America, IDSC, LLC, Impax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Magazine, iNetworks Advisors, Innovative NeuroTechnologies, Intellect Neurosciences, International Neuromodulation Society, Int'l Mental Health Research Organization, J. David Gladstone Institutes, Jan Medical, K&L Gates, Kansas Univ. Med. Center, Kappametrics Inc., Kinetics Foundation, Larta, Liverpool University, Lockheed Martin Aculight, Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, MDA Venture Philanthropy, MedAvante, MedStrategy, Medtronic, Medtronic Neuromodulation, Merck & Co, Merck Research Laboratories, Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Methylation Sciences, Michael J. Fox Foundation, MicroTransponder, MIT Media Lab, Myelin Repair Foundation, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, National Institutes of Health, Neostim, NeuroInsights, Neurologix, Neurolutions, Neuromodulation Ventures, Neuronascent, Neuronetics, Neuronetrix, NeuroNexus Technologies, NeuroNova AB, NeuroPace, Neurotechnology Industry Organization, Neurotech Reports, NeuroVentures, NFocus Neuromedical, NINDS/NIH, NIMH/NIH, North American Neuromodulation Society, Novartis Pharma AG, Novo Ventures, Omneuron, OpusGen, Otonomy, Oxford Bioscience Partners, Parexel, Pfizer, Pharmawire/Financial Times, Philips Research, Prexa Pharmaceuticals, Prize4Life, Prospect Venture Partners, Proteus Biomedical, PsychoGenics, PureTech Ventures, Q Therapeutics, QiG Group, San Jose BioCenter, Sanderling Ventures, Sandia National Laboratories, Satoris, Scale Venture Partners, Science Magazine, Science Futures, Siemens Venture Capital, Sierra Neuropharmaceuticals, Signum Biosciences, Silere Medical Technology, Shire, Sound Pharmaceuticals, SpectrumCare, Spinal Modulation, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation, Stanford University, StemCells, Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Synsonix, Targacept, Technology Partners, Technology Review, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Texcel Medical, Thallo Bioscience Advisors, The Gray Sheet, The Jackson Laboratory, The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center, Thomas, McNerney & Partners, Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Tronics Medtech, UC Berkeley, Univ of Texas HSC/CCT, Univeristy of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of California, Irvine, University of Utah, Versant Ventures, Vivo Ventures, Weill Cornell Medical College, World Brain Forum, Xytis Inc., Zarlink Semiconductor, Zoomedia

Reserve Your Spot Now and View Agenda. Don't miss this excellent networking opportunity to discover partnering opportunities from across commercial neuroscience.

Conference Details:
Date: May 11-13, 2009
Location: St. Regis, San Francisco

Audience: CEOs, CSOs, CFOs, business development executives, non-profit leaders, corporate investors, venture capitalists, private equity investors, institutional investors, technology transfer experts, licensing executives

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May 4, 2009

Does the U.S. Need a Neurowarfare Strategy?

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Posted by Zack Lynch

human-brain.jpgI took part in a several hour group discussion at the Decade of Mind conference back in January on neurotech and national security. Chris Forsythe of Sandia National Laboratories & James Giordano of Georgetown University & Potomac Institute for Policy Studies wrote up this nice synopsis of the discussion.

"We are approaching a time when brain science will be critical to our national security. Whether the basis for enhanced human performance or more intelligent machines, the impacts will be broad, motivating innovations in technologies, policies and practices. The prospects are similar to an earlier time ( i.e.- the 19th century) when advances in scientific understanding of the chemistry of explosives revolutionized weaponry, and the ways in which war was conducted. Brain science is poised to incur similarly far-reaching changes. There is need for a coordinated strategy as brain science becomes an increasingly important component of, and the basis for potential threats to, our national security. This strategy should provide a roadmap for translating advances, bolstered by initiatives such as the proposed Decade of the Mind and National Neurotechnology Initiative, to the national security domain. This strategy should also assure safeguards and governance, promoting U.S. leadership in establishing standards for the application of brain science to military, intelligence and other security domains. At the Fourth Decade of the Mind Conference, January 13-15, 2009, four areas were identified wherein national security will be impacted by advances in brain science.

1. Adversarial Application of Brain Science exemplified by: (a) nanoparticles engineered to affect specific brain processes, (b) “super soldiers” created through pharmaceuticals and/or brain stimulation enabling troops to think/react more quickly, exert greater concentration, etc. (c) brain imaging for interrogation/lie detection, and (d) intelligent machines replicating the mechanisms by which humans and other animals perform signal detection, information processing, etc.
2. Expanding the Limits of Human-Machine Systems Performance through technologies overcoming human perceptual and cognitive constraints limiting today’s technological solutions.
3. “Learner Specific” Education and Training - customized to the variable strengths and weaknesses of learners minimizing knowledge acquisition time and maximizing outcomes.
4. Brain Injuries and Disorders - treatments curtailing and reversing brain damage with understanding of mechanisms underlying psychological resilience suggesting techniques for assessing susceptibility, protecting against and treating stress-related pathologies.

It is reasonable to assume other nations have focused research and development on each of these areas. We assert that the U.S. should not engage in compensatory, “catch-up” research programs, as this will be costly to our national security from both an economic and pragmatic perspective. There are few fields that are as rapidly advancing as brain science. Combined with innovations in nanotechnology, genetics, microelectronics, etc., advances in brain science will only accelerate, and it is probable that major breakthroughs relevant to national security are both viable and imminently achievable. Consequently, we argue that there is need for a coordinated, strategic effort to address the ramifications of brain science in the interest of our national security."

Note: For more about the legalities of neurowarfare I recommend this paper written by Cornell Law School student Stephen White.

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