Charco Neurotech, a medical technology company that develops solutions for people with Parkinson’s, has today announced its $10m seed investment round, co-led by technology investors Amadeus Capital Partners and Parkwalk Advisors, and joined by University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC), MINT Venture Partners, and existing investors, including Crista Galli Ventures. The financing is the largest European seed round in 2021 and the sixth largest globally for healthtech devices, according to Pitchbook.
Charco is a multi-award winning, Imperial College spinout. Its first therapeutic device, CUE1, provides life-changing neuromodulation therapy. Based on more than two years’ research with patients and clinicians, the discrete, non-invasive wearable device delivers individualised peripheral nerve stimulation designed to alleviate motor symptoms such as slowness, stiffness and freezing while walking. Worn on the sternum, it achieves this by simultaneously delivering two clinically validated therapies – focused stimulation and “cueing” – personalized for each patient through customisable stimulation settings. The former interacts with the body’s sensory system to foster a more “ready-to-move” state, helping with movement speed and fluidity. The latter leverages regular or rhythmic stimuli, or cues, helping people with Parkinson’s to initiate and sustain movements like walking.
The underpinning science behind external neuromodulation builds on decades of research in the space, culminating this month with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine going to ground-breaking discoveries on how external stimuli such as heat, cold and mechanical force can initiate nerve impulses that allow people to perceive and adapt to the world around them. Charco taps into similar sensory circuitry to help Parkinson’s patients manage their symptoms and take back control of their bodies.
The CUE1 system also tracks symptoms and lifestyle information, such as treatment adherence and quality of life measures, through its accompanying app. The combination is a unique non-invasive therapy calibrated to each patient, designed to help reduce symptoms while allowing clinicians to monitor their patients progress in real-time.
Founders Lucy Jung, an award-winning designer driven by improving the life of those with long term conditions, and Floyd Pierres, an acute internal medicine clinician who sees first-hand the impact of neurological disorders on patients, bring complementary expertise and a common mission. Their journey started when first meeting Parkinson’s patients, one of whom said, “Parkinson’s has taken away many things in my life, but what I miss most is my smile. Even when I’m happy, I look angry.”
“Parkinson’s symptoms go way beyond tremors or freezing. It slowly takes away simple pleasures in life. We conceived CUE1 to give patients their lives back,” said Lucy Jung.