Digital health company Butterfly Network and deep tech research firm Forest Neurotech announced yesterday that they have entered into a five-year co-development agreement to further the development of next-generation brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) using Butterfly’s semiconductor-based Ultrasound-on-Chip technology.
The agreement includes US$20 million to be paid to Butterfly for annual licensing, chip purchases, services and milestone payments, of which US$3.5 million was received on signing. Additional revenue is anticipated for every unit sold upon commercialisation, as per a press release.
Forest Neurotech is the latest Focused Research Organisation to be created as part of Convergent Research—an incubator for ambitious scientific non-profits and member of the Schmidt Futures Network. Convergent Research recently announced US$50 million in new philanthropic support.
“Forest Neurotech is an exemplary partner that validates the vision behind Butterfly Garden,” said Joseph DeVivo, Butterfly’s president, chief executive officer and chairman. “We opened our imaging platform for co-development to encourage and expedite innovation that captures the full potential of Butterfly’s disruptive chip technology through new applications and in adjacent markets. By bringing our chip into the neurotech implantables space, this partnership does exactly that.”
“We are thrilled to embark on this journey with Butterfly Network, whose unique Ultrasound-on-Chip technology is key to enabling our novel approach to minimally invasive brain imaging and stimulation,” said Will Biederman, Forest Neurotech’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “Our shared passion for innovation and semiconductor-enabled healthcare technologies makes Butterfly the perfect match to enable our vision of developing the world’s first implanted, whole-brain neural interface.”
This news follows Butterfly’s August 2023 announcement launching Butterfly Garden to facilitate partnerships with medical device manufacturers, artificial intelligence (AI) companies or software developers seeking to build new applications with its imaging platform. According to a company press release, Butterfly’s Ultrasound-on-Chip technology “can operate at a wide range of frequencies, has enormous programming flexibility, and is compact in size”, making it highly suitable for a variety of ultrasonic sensing use cases, including potential implantables.
Since launching Butterfly Garden, Butterfly claims to have seen a strong response to the programme and expects additional collaboration announcements to follow.