Why Next Neurotech’s solution could be a breakthrough in epilepsy treatment

Using antiepileptic drugs to regulate the electrical activity in certain areas of the brain to prevent the triggering of new seizures or to relieve symptoms is ineffective in only 25% of patients. Minimally invasive surgery may then be considered. But of the 1.5 million drug-resistant epileptics in the world, only 3,000 patients are treated annually.

“Drug-resistant epilepsy can be treated with stereo electroencephalography (SEEG – editor’s note), explains Yoann Valorge, biomedical engineer, co-founder of Next Neurotech. But the protocols date from the 1980s, the management is far from ideal for the patient, the neurosurgeon implants him under the skull box on the electrodes, the wires of which weigh about 3 kg! In addition, the patient is hospitalized for fifteen days. Together with my two employees (also biomedical engineers, editor’s note) we thought of a more reliable and safer solution that would facilitate neurosurgeons’ actions and reduce operating times and nursing care. »

In vivo testing in 2023

Created in 2022 and incubated at BIC Innov’up in Nîmes (Gard), the Next Neurotech startup has developed a prototype, the fruit of two years of maturation. The patented technology includes a microprobe with a battery of sensors.

“This simplification of the protocol makes it possible to implant only a dozen probes in the patient compared to 80 in a conventional design, assures Yoann Valorge. Since there are sometimes breaks in electrical signals in the sensors, we win in security, but also in spatial resolution. As for the wireless side, it brings real comfort to the patient, freedom to move”.

Next step for startup: test the solution Direct from the first half of 2023, before the clinical phase (definitely carried out in France and Europe) and CE marking at the beginning of 2024, then marketing the following year.

A disease that mainly affects children

With this new technology, Next Neurotech targets hospitals specializing in drug-resistant epilepsy (about fifteen in France), but above all a global market.

While epilepsy mainly affects children or young people, the Nîmes startup has just won the Grand Prix for innovation from the Saint-Pierre Foundation, a major player in health and child protection.

“Among 75 applications with excellent levels submitted by start-ups, research laboratories, doctors or associations from all over France, the Foundation’s jury chose Next Neurotech’s solution because it finally opens up new possibilities for medical teams in the pediatric environment”, welcomes Benoit Sijobert, project manager at the Saint-Pierre Institute, coordinator of the Grand Prize for Innovation.

A project of 5 million euros

Thanks to this prize, the young shot, who is gaining visibility, will benefit from 70,000 euros in scholarship. It will thus be able to proceed with its preclinical validity and compatibility tests in collaboration with a regional laboratory (negotiations ongoing). But of course that will not be enough: it has already invested 200,000 euros in equity and received support from Bpifrance (50,000 euros), but the total project is estimated at 5 million euros.

“We will award share warrants to investors for an amount of 500,000 euros to improve our cash flows to advance our technology and recruit two engineers in the spring of 2023 and then four others at the end of the year, confides the president of Next Neurotech. Subsequently, we will consider other financing. »