Anyone who has ever experienced phantom ringing in their ears knows that it is annoying to say the least. Those who suffer from tinnitus — hearing a continuous ringing, buzzing, buzzing, or even static noise — often suffer from anxiety and depression.
The disease affects approximately 15% of the world’s adult population. However, treatment has remained elusive and sufferers must find their own ad hoc mitigation solutions.
Neuromod, a medtech startup from Ireland, wants to change that. The company has just received €30 million in funding to further commercialize its tinnitus treatment device Lenire.
The slightly different electrotherapy
Using its patented bimodal neuromodulation technology, Lenire sends low-level electrical signals to the tongue while patients hear auditory stimulation through headphones.
To date, over 700 patients have participated in clinical trials with the device, which consists of three parts. A wearable, lightweight controller allows the user to control the timing, intensity, and synchronization of stimuli, while Neuromod’s proprietary Tonguetip module sits in the user’s mouth and delivers electrical impulses to the tip of the tongue. At the same time, Bluetooth headphones deliver individual sound stimuli to the auditory nerve.
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Large-scale clinical trials on Lenire, featured in the October 2020 issue of Science Translational Medicine and the June 2022 issue of Nature, found that between 70% and 86% of participants reported a reduction in symptoms. In addition, the decrease in symptoms continued through a post-therapeutic study phase that lasted up to 12 months.
With Neuromod across the Atlantic
As with most medtech companies, the company’s journey from inception through testing to launch is a bit longer than startups in other sectors due to regulatory processes.
Neuromod Devices was founded in 2010 and the funds raised this week bring the total capital to over 55 million euros. The latest round consists of 15 million euros in equity investments and 15 million euros in venture debt, the latter being provided by the European Investment Bank.
The investment is led by Panakés Partners, a Milan-based venture capital firm with the stated goal of “enabling better lives for people around the world”. Panakés Partners Managing Director, Alessio Beverina, will join Neuromod’s Board of Directors.
The existing investor Fountain Healthcare Partners also participated in the expansion of Series B financing.
With the previous Series B funding round occurring in 2020, Neuromod used the funds to expand its footprint across Europe. While this time around it continues to seek to increase the accessibility of the device in new European markets such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy, the funds will also support the launch of Lenire in the US.
The company has already established a wholly owned subsidiary, Neuromod USA Inc, and received FDA de novo clearance. The first patient treatment in the US will begin this month.
The treatment of tinnitus is one of the largest unmet clinical needs worldwide. For some of the millions of people who suffer from phantom noise 24/7, perhaps Neruomod’s Lenire could bring relief from the constant uninvited companion in their ears.