How Sense Neuro is expanding its horizons in a Mayo Clinic-sponsored program
One of Ohio’s most exciting medical technology companies is in the midst of a world-class accelerator program that could help the company speed up their already promising growth. Cincinnati’s Sense Neuro Diagnostics announced last month that the company was selected to participate in the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University MedTech Accelerator. Sense Neuro is developing a non-invasive technology that enables continuous, real-time brain injury monitoring and rapid detection of traumatic brain injury and stroke. The MedTech Accelerator was designed to provide early-stage medical device and health care technology companies with an immersive curriculum to help accelerate investment possibilities and the process of going to market, and could boost the already exciting startup.
“We hope to attract more capital because of the visibility we gained from the program, and we have received valuable input from some of the leading stroke and traumatic brain injury clinicians on the planet,” said COO Daniel Kincaid. “The insights we’ve gained will help us tailor the product to fit the clinical need and logistical workflows much better. And perhaps most importantly, we are having discussions with researchers who can help take our technology in new directions, expanding its use to new populations and making the products we are currently developing more impactful for patients and customers.”
Just eight companies from all around the world were chosen to participate in the third cohort of the accelerator, which launched March 28. Kincaid said Sense Neuro leaders have already made valuable connections from the first few weeks of the program, which has opened opportunities for partnerships, market feedback, investors and more.
“We are a bit like a kid at Disneyland, we want to do everything all at once,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to collaborate and we’re getting such strong interest from the clinicians and researchers that we’re having to prioritize what we tackle first. The depth, number and quality of the interactions with clinicians, researchers and investors has been amazing. It is nice to talk with people who get what we are doing and that want to help us get where we want to be.”
Also helping get Sense Neuro where they want to be is a contract won last year with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command Combat Casualty Care Research Program, which awarded the company $2.43 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to advance technology to diagnose and monitor traumatic brain injury in a field environment. Kincaid said the contract was an important development, both in testing their product and in putting Sense Neuro on the map.
“It’s an opportunity to provide a life-saving product to our warfighters that suffer a traumatic brain injury in the field, and that is an incredible mission to be part of,” Kincaid said. “Much of the learning we will get from the combat care development process informs our strategy for our ambulance product. The DoD could be an important customer for us. If we are successful and ultimately are awarded the contract to supply products for the Army, it would represent our largest single customer. It would also give us entry into other services and potentially allied militaries as well, such as NATO.”
Between that contract and the exciting developments to come from the accelerator, Sense Neuro’s start is shining brighter than ever. And Kincaid is confident that the future will only bring more growth.
“The opportunity for the company continues to improve,” he said. “We are making steady progress on our clinical development, despite the challenges of conducting clinical studies in the COVID era. We are finding new market opportunities, both in terms of international interest in the products we have in the pipeline and in discovering new use cases for our products. We believe the market is larger than we initially anticipated, even before we look at adding new diseases beyond TBI and stroke. There is still work to be done — getting through our clinical program and getting FDA approval, setting up manufacturing, sales and distribution and the like, but the future is looking better now than at any time in our history.”
And to reach that high ceiling, Kincaid and Sense Neuro know that they’re in the right place. Their Cincinnati home has connected them with funding from the likes of Queen City Angels and the Dayton Development Coalition’s Accelerant fund, in addition to millions of dollars from other Ohio investors. And their collaboration with the University of Cincinnati and other Ohio hospitals has the clinical side of their development humming along.
“UC is rightly known as a center for leading-edge research in stroke and TBI, and we hope to continue and expand on that relationship in the coming months,” Kincaid said. “And I would be remiss in not mentioning Alloy Development Co., who has been a continual source of entrepreneurial wisdom and connections for us. They’ve also allowed us to grow and adapt our physical space a number of times as we’ve grown. You just don’t get that from a ‘landlord.’ They are truly a value-add organization.”