OSF Ventures joins six other investors in a Series A, $12.5 million funding round for a wireless, wearable EEG (brain wave monitor) to detect seizures, even those that are non-convulsive with no obvious signs.
Catalyst Health Ventures (CHV) and Genoa Ventures co-led the over-subscribed early financing along with participation from Dexcom, Inc. (DXCM), Wavemaker 360, and existing investors MedMountain Ventures and Salt Lake City Angels.
The prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders is rising as the U.S. population ages. The World Health Organization says one in 10 people will experience a seizure in their lifetime and there are approximately 3.4 million people in the United States diagnosed with epilepsy. However, two-thirds of Americans don’t have easy access to EEG monitoring and most emergency departments lack the capability to screen for neuro-emergencies.
The one-inch square Epitel wireless sensor has a proprietary adhesive that easily sticks discreetly on a patient’s scalp, just below the hairline. Two sensors can be worn on the forehead while the other two can be located behind an ear for early screening when a physician suspects cognitive impairment. Currently, Epitel’s disposable wireless EEG sensors and remote access software known as REMI®, are FDA cleared for in-hospital use, but the company plans to seek clearance for use across a variety of patient care settings.
Bedside nurses instead of EEG technicians can easily attach Epitel’s miniature sensors within minutes, and brain wave activity can be recorded to see changes over time. Results are transmitted from the cloud to the REMI patient monitoring platform, easily accessible on a tablet.
“This technology really helps break down access barriers because it will not only reduce the time to EEG initiation, but the sensors and monitoring software give rural hospitals that do not have EEG resources the ability to screen patients suspected of seizure activity, in lieu of immediately requiring transfer to a larger tertiary hospital.”
– Liridon Rrushaj, director of OSF Venture Investments.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#1e73be” txt_color=”#ffffff”]”OSF HealthCare has many rural hospitals within its 15-hospital system, and the ease of use enables early detection of neurologic issues so doctors will be able to proactively address care options before the worst symptoms arise,” adds Rrushaj.[/mks_pullquote]
OSF Ventures notes the wireless technology prevents obstructions in the recordings of electrographic seizure activity or antenna noise that comes with tethered wires that are part of currently available hard-wired systems. Epitel’s sensors can provide real-time monitoring of adult and pediatric patients suspected of having neurological complications, thus potentially speeding diagnoses and treatment in community hospitals.
“Epitel’s system is truly an innovative solution to a widespread problem – EEG machines and skilled technicians are in short supply, with an ever growing demand,” says Dr. Deepak Nair, director of Ambulatory and Virtual Neurology Services for OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute and a neurological hospitalist at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. “The Epitel team has developed a simple and powerful tool that allows us to provide remote EEG monitoring, increasing the speed of diagnosis and treatment. This approach to diagnostic medicine is exactly the transformative thinking that will help decentralize the delivery of advanced neurological care.”
OSF Ventures will be collaborating with Epitel to further support its value proposition as the company works to commercialize its REMI platform.
Epitel Chief Executive Officer Mark Lehmkuhle, PhD, stresses, “We look forward to additional clinical input from the specialists at OSF HealthCare and we are honored to have the support of OSF Ventures as part of a strong investment syndicate that will help us advance our platform and our product pipeline. We’re motivated by our belief that quick diagnosis and treatment enabled by our technology can lead to more effective treatment plans, better outcomes and improved quality of life for those with epilepsy and other neurological disorders.”