Gates and Bezos back $110m Series C for brain computer interface company Synchron

Gates and Bezos back $110m Series C for brain computer interface company Synchron

Synchron co-founder Professor Nicholas Opie.

Synchron, a medtech developing a brain computer interface (BCI) for the treatment of paralysis, has today announced an oversubscribed $110 million Series C financing round backed by two of the world’s richest men.

Melbourne and New York-based Synchron saw its raise supported by a raft of investors, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ venture fund Gates Frontier and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ investment vehicle Bezos Expeditions.

Other investors includeed Series C leader ARCH Venture Partners and new backers Reliance Digital Health, Greenoaks, Alumni Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures and Project X.

The injection of capital brings the total amount raised by Synchron since the company was founded by Dr Tom Oxley and Professor Nicholas Opie in 2016 to $212 million.

According to Synchron, the funding will accelerate development of its first platform product - Synchron Switch - and launch an important clinical trial.

That trial will put the Synchron Switch to the test, and see if the brain computer interface, which is implanted in the blood vessel on the surface of the motor cortex of the brain, can give patients some extra mobility.

Synchron’s minimally-invasive solution works by detecting and wirelessly transmitting motor intent out of the brain, restoring a capability for severely paralysed patients to control personal devices with hands-free point-and-click.

The company already has an ongoing US clinical trial which is assessing the technology’s impact on daily tasks such as texting, emailing, online shopping and telehealth services.

It has also already received ‘Breakthrough Device designation’ from the US Food and Drugs Administration, and the first US patient received an implant in July 2022 at Mount Sinai in New York.

The first Australian was implanted in 2020 at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Since then, four more Australians have received the device.

“We have an opportunity to deliver a first-in-class commercial BCI,” Synchron CEO and co-founder Dr Tom Oxley said.

“The problem of paralysis is much larger than people realise. 100 million people worldwide have upper limb impairment.

“We are extremely excited to work with ARCH and this world-class syndicate to bring this technology to the people who need it.”

ARCH co-founder and managing director Robert Nelsen said technologies like Synchron’s make the current moment an ‘exciting time for neurotechnology’.

“Our approach has always been to pair great science and technology with remarkable teams to build disruptive companies,” Nelsen said.

“The technology we witnessed at Synchron is helping people with previously untreatable conditions regain connection to the world.”

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