Neurotech startup Beacon Biosignals receives $ 27 million to bring AI into EEG analysis


MedCity News

Electroencephalography is a decades-old technique for measuring brain activity, data used to assess brain diseases. Beacon Biosignals applies artificial intelligence to these tests, and the neurotechnology startup has found a mature market in pharmaceutical companies interested in assessing how their experimental brain therapies work. Now Beacon Biosignals has something else: $ 27 million in funding.

The Boston-based company’s recently announced Series A funding round was led by General Catalyst.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) involves placing electrodes on the patient’s scalp. Over a period of time, typically up to an hour, these electrodes collect electrical signals from the brain. By analyzing these signals, clinicians can learn what is happening to the brain. This knowledge can help diagnose brain and sleep disorders. However, analyzing EEGs is labor intensive and the interpretation of these tests can vary from one doctor to another. Beacon Biosignals says its technology can push the limits of human analysis of EEGs.

Beacon Biosignals has compiled one of the largest clinical EEG databases in the world. By applying its proprietary machine learning algorithms to the database, the company claims to have identified neurobiomarkers – biological indicators associated with specific patient groups, drug activity and therapeutic efficacy.

In drug research, Beacon Biosignals says its technology can analyze existing EEGs to gain insight into how a drug works and how the drug moves through the body and how the body reacts to it. The technology can also be used to guide patient selection for clinical trials. Disclosed partner companies using Beacon Biosignals technology include Novartis, Praxis Precision Medicines, Cyclerion Therapeutics, and Idorsia. The startup plans to use the new funding to pursue further pharmaceutical and biotech partnerships.

“We have already identified novel electrophysiological signatures that are functionally linked to primary cognitive endpoints in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jacob Donoghue, co-founder and CEO of Beacon Biosignals, in a prepared statement. “We are further encouraged by the applications of our platform in heterogeneous psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and major depression.”

Beacon Biosignals was founded two years ago by scientists and engineers from Harvard University and MIT. The startup is one of a growing number of companies that are bringing AI to the analysis of data from diagnostic technologies and procedures. Iterative Scopes has developed a technology that brings artificial intelligence to the analysis of endoscopy. In August, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company announced a $ 30 million Series A funding round and a research alliance with Eli Lilly.

Beacon Biosignals announced that its Series A funding round to date is $ 30 million. Other participants in the company’s new funding include Casdin Capital, former seed investors and new angel investors, including Andy Beck, the CEO of PathAI.

Image: Iaremenko, Getty Images

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