This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to complement scientific papers on new neural research in an easy, digestable way. Innovators and professionals can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space.
Victor Pikov on starting a bioelectronic medicine company after working at Galvani
Dr Victor Pikov is the founder and CEO of Medipace, a sacral nerve stimulation neuromodulation company and VP of Technology at TRI, Trans Stimulation Incorporated. He also worked at Galvani, a joint venture between Google and GSK as well as working in academia before.
Top 3 Takeaways
"When you try to speak to potential investors who consider themselves experts in medical devices, they typically fall into three categories: One is no experience with neuromodulation and another bucket is experienced with wearable neuromodulation. And the third very small bucket is experience with implantable class three neuromodulation." "Chinese VCs, typically are much younger, often they're less than 30 years old. And they're joining typically in larger numbers, about four to six to the zoom meetings versus one to two in the US and they're also being rather silent during the presentations." " [A surgeon] showed a whole bunch of photographs of failed implantations and you could see all kinds of ways it possibly can fail. This is very educational. It's much better than showing a picture of a working implant." 0:45 "Do you want to introduce yourself?"
1:15 "You were working at Galvani... do you want to explain it and what the, what this venture was aiming?"
8:00 "So you were there for three years and then you decided to go do your own thing, did you see a need in the market?"
12:15 "Let's talk about these NIH, SBR grants"
19:00 "You were pitching to VCs in China. And so now you have a comparison, the US versus China. So what's that like?"
21:00 "A lot of people are a little bit nervous about working with China or Chinese companies because of intellectual property. They're worried that their technology will be stolen or copied. Is that something that people should be worried about? Is that how did you approach it?"
25:15 You guys decided to use an off-the-shelf IPG instead of developing your own one, why?
30:45 Can you talk about the small neurotech meetings you organized?
34:15 "So you're saying as an academician, you had lots of time, but now you don't."
35:15 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Here is the link to 5 conferences that Dr Pikov helped to organize:
Daniel Palanker on breaking physics to found neurotech companies
Dr Daniel Palanker is Professor of Opthamology at Stanford University. He has had many successful technologies spun off into companies or patents including those involving retinal prosthetics, optical imaging and spectroscopy, laser-tissue interactions, and retinal plasticity.
Top 3 Takeaways
"The [size] limitation for a retinal prosthesis is not in a fabrication side. The limitation is an interface with neurons"
Allergan acquired Oculeve but then didn't do much with it seemingly because they already had a more profitable drug on the market "Stanford is industry-friendly, encouraging commercialization, basically making things practical and useful and in Berkeley it's a communist mentality" 1:15 "You've worked on a railroad. Do you want to talk about this a little bit?"
2:00 "I introduced you a little bit, but do you want to describe yourself and your role?"
3:00 "The retinal prosthesis is a very fascinating technology. What's the advantage of this versus something else?"
7:15 "Tell me about the progress of this technology. Where did it start and how far has it progressed in the many years since you've been working on it"
14:00 "It seems there's a curse, on these vision prosthetics companies and the SecondSight and actually Pixium also has stuttered a little bit in the last year or so. Do you want to comment?"
19:30 "You mentioned this sub 40 micron photo detector, do you see a potential for, getting down to the five and the three micron size of that you had mentioned?"
22:45 "Did you want to talk about TrueTear and Oculeve a little bit?"
24:00 "If you suspect [a company buying your tech and shelving it] were to happen the then would you would you go through with that sale or would you continue to develop it yourself?"
25:15 "I was reading you have 70 patents and seven platform technologies... Is this a Stanford thing? Do you have access to great talent or are the projects you're working on especially good at spinning off these companies?"
27:15 "Is there anything else that you're excited about? Any other crazy physics rules that you're gonna be breaking?"
33:00 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
Donna Hamlin, an executive coach on how to be a better leader in neurotech
Dr. Donna Hamlin is a corporate executive with thirty years of corporate, governance and strategy consulting experience. She oversees BoardWise’s global programs, including its centers and their services. These include: board evaluations, professional certification and training, its global registry of qualified directors, Board Bona Fide®, its strategic partnership programs and its Boardwise center.
Top 3 Takeaways
"It's really important to know that if we want to be good at our work, then we've got to explore things outside of our normal swim lanes. And when we do that, it gives us a different view or another way" "There's a great exercise called appreciating your vices. If you can identify vices, and then you can go teach some group of people, how to do that vice really well. Then you start laughing at it because you realize how silly it is." "360 is when an executive coach hand picks five to six people that work with that person routinely and you do an in-depth interview about the experience of working with this person. And then you summarize all of that into some themes and sit down with the person to say what we can do to make you a stronger leader as a result of that. And typically in that process, you're getting raw feedback about what that experience is through a third party." 0:30 "How would you describe yourself?"
6:00 "Why creativity? Why leadership? How are those two things connected?"
10:00 "How should one think about approaching being a good leader or being the ideal leader? "
11:30 "Are you limited to a specific type of job based on your predisposition?"
14:15 "You mentioned five different types of, I guess leadership styles. Do you want to go through these and explain what each of them are a little bit?"
21:00 "What are some big mistakes or what's the biggest issue that you see with leaders?"
24:30 "Is there any other exercises that we can do in order to strengthen those muscles of listening more?"
30:00 "Do you have any other more stories how this 360 or this kind of social gaps were changed or improved by having some sort of an outside perspective?"
32:15 "Do you want to talk about your company? What do you do?"
34:30 "Do you have any stories of the most radical transformation?"
37:45 " Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
David McMullen of NIH on Blueprint Medtech, the program to help neurotech companies grow
David McMullen is the program officer at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They are launching the NIH Blueprint Medtech (links below) which aims to help incubate growing neurotech companies go from Bench to Bedside.
Top 3 Takeaways
"We're funding individual projects and trying to help groups in the past have struggled... to get funding and to get all the way to in human trials. The Blueprint Medtech resource is meant to derisk later investment and grants for companies "We saw some great programs... having difficulty when they come in - Can we decrease the activation energy to getting to first-in-human? Can we compress the timeline a little bit Can we spend that money a little bit more wisely and improve some of these outcomes?"
0:45 "Do you want to introduce yourself?"
5:45 "Do you want to describe your job? What do you do and what is the program director do?"
7:45 "Do you want to talk about the Blueprint Initiative?"
9:45 "This sounds almost like a government-led VC, am I off in this?"
11:00 "Do you want to describe the project a little bit?"
13:30 What are some guidelines of the project to fund neurotech companies?
16:30 "Generally, what stage should the company be at?"
18:15 "How do the hubs work? When I think of a hub, I think of a physical, like one location but does it have to be like that?"
23:45 "Do you want to talk a little bit about the motivation for this?"
26:30 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
NIH BLUEPRINT MEDTECH LINKS
-Home website for the Blueprint MedTech program. Overall figure explaining the program on the front page. The site links to the webinars and funding opportunities.
Please reach out if you have any questions!
INDIVIDUAL PROJECT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:
October 20, 2021 First receipt date. Multiple receipt dates.
Blueprint MedTech Translator (UG3/UH3 - Clinical Trial Optional)
Funding Opportunity TitleBlueprint Medtech: Small Business Translator (U44 - Clinical Trial Optional)
Only 1 receipt date! October 20, 2021
Blueprint MedTech: Incubator Hubs (U54 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Incubator Hub Funding Opportunity (PAR-21-314)
Monday, August 30, 2021, 3:00 PM EDT
Translator Funding Opportunities (PAR-21-315; PAR-21-282)
Tuesday, August 31, 2021 4:00 PM EDT
Jon Speer on how Quality Management Software for Medtech companies raised $120 Million
Jon is the founder of Greenlight Guru (quality management software exclusively for medical device companies) & a medical device guru with nearly 20 years industry experience. Jon knows the best medical device companies in the world use quality as an accelerator. That's why he created Greenlight Guru to help companies move beyond compliance to True Quality.
Top 3 Takeaways
If it isn't documented, it didn't happen. One particular audit didn't take four days. It took two days because the Greenlight system made it so much simpler. Greenlight Guru also has an academy to teach people about the medical device regulatory process.
0:45 "What is quality management and why is it important? And it doesn't have to be boring?"
4:15 "Why couldn't people just make their own system?"
7:00 "Is the process any different for neurotech or neural implants or is this pretty applicable to all medical devices?"
8:00 "Is this something that is applicable to... people in government or academia or anybody else?"
11:00 "What are exactly the tangible benefits of using GreenLight Guru?"
16:00 "You guys got a nice investment recently, $120 million. I'm surprised. Why so much? And what's it gonna be used for?"
20:00 "I want to hear a little bit more about the academy."
Dr Aldo Faisal on using eye movements and AI to improve BCIs
Professor Aldo Faisal is the Professor of AI & Neuroscience at the Dept. of Computing and the Dept. of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. His work is in Machine Learning and eye tracking to improve neurotechnologies.
Top 3 Takeaways
"What we do is we get people to move into our living lab/studio flat and they live their daily lives, and we record everything that they do, how they do, where they look, we record the eye movements, the body movements, and everything." "The more subjects you add to your dataset from different datasets, the worse the performance of the system becomes." A combination of fNIRS and EEG works significantly better together than they do apart
0:45 "Do you wanna introduce yourself?"
16:00 "Why is the eye movement retained even in degenerative disorders? Why that versus something more basal and integral to life like breathing or heartbeat or something"
18:45 "It seems like neurotech is, and should be very deeply ingrained with AI and machine learning. How important is it?"
22:00 Are there plug-and-play AI programs for neurotech?
25:30 " So why wouldn't you like always go to those larger data sets from other labs?"
26:45 "Machine learning/AI takes a very long time and it's very computationally intensive. Is this something that people can do at home?"
28:30 "Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to mention?"
30:15 "So how much better is the combination of EEG and fNIRS versus just one?"
Interesting videos about Dr Faisal's work:
Great and Informative Channel!
This channel provides wonderful in-depth perspectives to the developing field of neural technologies. I highly recommend the Dan Rizzuto episode—really made me ponder the possibilities for patients suffering from traumatic brain injury. Awesome job!
Best source of neural interface and brain implant info on the web today
Ladan is an amazing podcaster who has managed to snag some of the best and most important people in this space and ask great questions for 30+ minutes at a time. Very on topic, insightful, and I've learned so many things about companies and research that I could not have anywhere else. If you're into brain-computer interfaces, this is perhaps THE most information-dense way to learn.
Helpful and insightful
I really enjoy the different guests in this podcast. I'm a 1st year engineering student and just started as a research student assistant at my university. I still have not gotten to the upper level courses so I feel rather behind in terms of knowledge during lab meetings, but this podcasts helps me shorten that gap between what I know and want to know in terms of neuroprostheses. Definitely recommend!