La Jolla-based NeuroVigil completes significant initial financing round
NeuroVigil, a La Jolla-based company founded by Philip Low, closed its initial round of financing over the weekend, which the company said in a press release has a “pre-investment valuation reportedly over twice the combined seed valuations of Google and Facebook’s first rounds, and for less than 2 percent of the company’s stock.”
The company said only that “the round was led by an anonymous American industrialist and technology visionary, with participants distributed across both the U.S. West and East Coasts.”
In the release, Low, who is the company’s chairman and CEO, said, the company is pushing “forward on (a) challenging, significant and audacious journey.”
The company’s vision, he states, “is that one day people will have access to their brain as routinely and as easily as they currently have to their blood pressure.
We are contributing to that effort by building an innovative technology platform at the confluence of artificial intelligence and wireless engineering, and putting it out in the world.
The Internet journal medGadget which calls the company’s technology “the first substantial breakthrough in really understanding the information within brainwaves,” reported Monday they have a source who indicated the investor is either “Bill Gates, Sergey Brin (he does have a gene associated with Parkinson’s), Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs, Larry Ellison, or perhaps even Steve Jobs. (See the article at tinyurl.com/3h3ulzu.)
Low, who founded the company when he was a graduate student at The Salk Institute, is a pioneer in the field of computational biometrics.
He is the inventor of the iBrain — a wireless device for at-home sleep monitoring and diagnosis. Other applications for the technology include the systematic search for brain-derived biomarkers of neuropathologies that include narcolepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
The device has been used in clinical trials and research institutions “to use for collecting brainwave activity from patients at home instead of in the hospital,” the press release states. The company, which owns both the devices and the data, “is searching for biomarkers of major neuropathologies as well as potential signatures of pre-market drugs on the brain.
The release quotes Dr. Roger Guillemin, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, President Emeritus of the Salk Institute and adviser to Low, who described the technology as “a fundamentally new way to assess brain activity, non-invasively, and rapidly, using a single channel of electroencephalogram (EEG) … it allows one to see signals which could only be detected with electrodes implanted in the brain, or at the very least on the surface of the brain.”
Low was named one of the Light’s “Science People to Watch” this year and as one of the top young innovators of 2010 (under the age of 35) by MIT Technology Review magazine. NeuroVigil won the 2008 DFJ Venture Challenge, the 2008 UCSD Entrepreneurship Challenge, the 2010 CONNECT Most Innovative New Product Award in Life Sciences.
Low, who holds dual appointments at MIT and Stanford and is NeuroVigil’s sole director.
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