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University spin-out reaches final of global competition

Neuronostics, an innovative spin-out company from the University of Exeter, is today (June 24th 2021) announced as one of four finalists for the Nature Spinoff Prize 2021.  

The finalists were chosen for their potential to translate world-leading scientific research into products and services that would have lasting impact on society. 

Neuronostics was co-founded by Professor John Terry and Dr Wessel Woldman in 2018. Since that time, the team have raised over £1.5M in grant funding, as well as an equity investment this year of £300K. This has enabled them to grow the team to 10 staff and take up offices at the Engine Shed in Bristol, as part of the SETsquared Bristol tech incubator. 

Neuronostics technology analyses clinical data (such as EEG) used routinely for the diagnosis of conditions such as epilepsy. It transforms these data into computer representations of the brain. From these computer models, the ease with which seizures can occur is calculated. This informs Neuronostics’ patented #BioEP seizure risk marker.  

In contrast to the current clinical pathway, which is reliant on the clinical observation of symptoms which can take months or years, Neuronostics’ markers can be calculated in close to real time. The company are currently developing a software platform to enable neurology centres globally to take advantage of their suite of digital tools.  

Professor Terry commented after the announcement: “It is amazing to see the hard work of our team recognised in this way by Nature. To be highlighted as one to watch and into the final four of this global competition is a fantastic endorsement of both our research and our business plan. 

“It inspires us to work even harder to ensure that our research is translated into tools that benefit people with epilepsy and other neurological conditions.” 

Sean Fielding, Director of Innovation, Impact and Business at the University of Exeter said “Reaching the last four in the Nature Spin-Off prize is a huge achievement.  

It’s fantastic to see a spin-out from Exeter competing with the best in the world and we are so pleased for the team of scientists and mathematicians who have worked so hard to turn their ideas into a commercial reality.”  

The Spinoff Prize, sponsored by Merck, attracted more 150 applications from around the world. A panel of global experts selected the four finalists on the basis of several key criteria. These included the quality of the underpinning science, the significance of the problem the company is seeking to address, a well-developed business plan, and the quality of technical and commercial leadership. 

Neuronostics will now go forward to the grand final on July 12th which is incorporated into the 2021 Future Insight Days congress. The winning spin-out will receive a grant of £25,000 to accelerate their research and development. 

Richard Hughes, VP, Publishing, Nature Research Partnerships, said: “Supporting the research community is at the heart of what we do. Alongside our trusted partner Merck, we are delighted to be able to build on the success of last year’s award and continue to showcase the innovative work of spinoffs around the globe. The Spinoff Prize provides a platform for early stage companies and — we hope — helps them to find investors so they can realise their missions.”

Ulrich Betz, Vice President Innovation, Merck, added: “The Spinoff Prize fits extremely well to our Future insight Initiative - science for a better tomorrow.”

Date: 24 June 2021

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