NaoX Technologies, a start-up developing next-generation electroencephalogram sensors, announces that it has raised €4.3 million from Kurma Partners, Bpifrance’s Patient Autonomy Fund, BNP Paribas Développement and Majycc e-Santé.
This round also includes non-dilutive financing from Bpifrance. This financing round follows a pre-seed with Attali & Associés. Through this operation, the company aims to conduct a clinical trial with the Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital as principal investigator, which should start by the end of 2022, with a view to obtaining CE marking and marketing at the end of 2023. The first pathology concerned is epilepsy.
NaoX was co-founded in 2018 by Hugo Dinh, a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique, and Michel Le Van Quyen, a research director at Inserm, respectively CEO and Chief Scientific Officer. A world expert in electroencephalograms, known for his epileptic seizure prediction algorithms published in Nature and Science, Michel Le Van Quyen met Hugo Dinh, a neuroscience enthusiast and project leader, in 2015. Convinced by the complementarity of their approaches, the two scientists set themselves the goal of democratizing electroencephalograms and improving the monitoring and diagnosis of neurological disorders through NaoX. They were soon joined by Emmanuel Lange, director of new technologies, and Khalil Kababe, hardware designer. The NaoX sensors were then tested during various preliminary studies conducted by the Inserm Biomedical Imaging Laboratory.
An electroencephalogram while patients go about their business
NaoX enables miniaturized sensors to be embedded in an everyday object – simple headphones – that continuously record the electrical activity of the wearer’s brain. The miniaturization of these sensors is based on a unique and patented technology. They are remarkably easy to use, unlike other sensors that are usually placed on the patient’s head in an uncomfortable manner and in a medical environment, usually the hospital. The data collected is then processed by artificial intelligence software and transmitted securely to the neurologist. NaoX thus solves the three classic difficulties of electroencephalograms: electrode placement, access to real-life data, and the complexity of data interpretation.
The electroencephalogram is the reference test for diagnosing and monitoring many diseases that affect brain function, including epilepsy, which affects 600,000 people in France. By refining diagnosis and monitoring, NaoX’s solution aims to direct patients to the right treatments. “The technology of electroencephalogram hadn’t evolved much in the last century. The advantage of our solution is that we can access the data over a long period of time while making the patient’s life easier. Our solution also simplifies the work of doctors: the physiological information is transmitted from the headphones to the patient’s smartphone and then to the doctors during a physical appointment, or via a secure connection. Our artificial intelligence algorithms assist the doctor in reading these large volumes of data,” explains Hugo Dinh, CEO of NaoX.
A clinical study in 2022 with the Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital
NaoX’s fundraising comes at the same time as a new partnership with the Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital, a European reference in neurology, for the organization of a clinical trial that should start by the end of 2022 with 50 patients. “This research project will revolutionize the way EEGs are performed and open up new areas of data analysis for diagnosis and patient follow-up,” said Dr. Gilles Huberfeld, neurologist and researcher at the Rothschild Foundation Hospital.
“If the results are conclusive, CE marking and marketing could be envisaged as early as the end of 2023 in Europe and the United States,” says Hugo Dinh. In the meantime, NaoX’s workforce should double by the end of the year to around 20 people.
NaoX’s business model is based on a fee-for-service reimbursement by the French social security system and complementary health insurance. “Our technology opens the field of possibilities in the field of neuroscience. Personalized, predictive and out-of-hospital medicine is finally an accessible objective because it requires entering into the daily life of patients, which is what the NaoX solution allows,” says Michel Le Van Quyen, scientific manager at NaoX.
“Hugo Dinh, the founder, has succeeded in surrounding himself with experts from different worlds and getting them to work together. We were impressed by their achievements and their access to unique neurological databases that will address strong medical needs. We are delighted to be part of this adventure which will have an impact both on the collection of medical grade data in real life conditions and on the analysis of these data to improve prevention, monitoring and diagnosis of patients”, declares Amine Marouf, investor at Kurma Partners.
“By successfully combining miniaturization and signal quality, NaoX transforms an increasingly common everyday object into a true brain activity measurement device. It thus provides access to real-life data recorded over relatively long periods of time that were previously inaccessible. The objective of this financing is to allow the company to clinically validate its product, starting with the epilepsy vertical, where there is a particular problem of monitoring seizures in real life in order to improve treatments. We are delighted to support Hugo and his teams in their development ambitions”, says So-Yeon Koo, investor of the Patient Autonomy Fund.