The partnership will seek to develop an automated surgical solution for implanting brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) into patients with neurological disorders — including from paralysis, ALS, blindness and hearing loss.
Solana Beach, Calif.–based ClearPoint Neuro said in a news release that the partnership aims to leverage its platform and software with Blackrock Neurotech’s Utah Array to deliver a clinical solution for surgeons that is more streamlined and effective than other BCI implantation surgeries performed to date.
Salt Lake City–based Blackrock Neurotech touts its Utah Array as a leader in implantable BCIs and the only electrode array of its kind. It holds an FDA clearance for temporary monitoring of brain electrical activity. A total of 29 human patients have used the BCI implants for up to seven years, and researchers are presently exploring it for several functional applications, including sleep, paralysis, chronic pain, ALS and more.
“The challenge of making people walk, talk, move and feel again is an enormous one,” said Blackrock Neurotech co-founder & CEO Marcus Gerhardt. “To make this vision a reality, we believe in partnering and collaborating with the best in the field. We are excited that ClearPoint is joining us in this endeavor to provide their expertise in navigation and surgical processes to create an integrated solution.”
Under the agreement, Blackrock Neurotech will help fund the development of the surgical solution, thanks to recent financing contributed by re.Mind Capital and others to accelerate enrollment in clinical trials, advance surgical procedures like this one and prepare for commercial launch.
“The partnership with Blackrock will allow us to leverage our expertise in neuro-navigation and robotic delivery to create a system capable of assisting surgeons to implant these BCI arrays in a predictable and replicable manner,” ClearPoint president & CEO Joe Burnett said. “Automation and predictability are crucial to getting a sophisticated device like the Blackrock BCI out of the research domain and into the clinic. We are thrilled to be an enabling partner to Blackrock and the BCI market in a similar fashion to what we are doing in biologics and drug delivery and medical devices as well.”