Synchron appoints Martin Dieck as chairman

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Synchron, a new USA-based company focused on the development of minimally invasive neuromodulation technologies, has announced the appointment of Martin Dieck as chairman.

Currently focused on the development of an endovascular neural interface, Synchron is acquiring SmartStent , an Australian company with intellectual property rights to Stentrode, an implantable technology that can interpret signals from the brain. The technology is being developed for patients with paralysis, as well as a range of brain pathologies, and to date has received over US$4M in grant money from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), among other sources.

Martin Dieck says, “Over the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to work alongside many top physicians and engineers to develop some of the most transformative technologies in the neurovascular space. I look forward to working with the Synchron team to establish this new technology platform which may ultimately benefit a wide range of patients.”

Dieck was most recently co-founder and chief executive officer of Lazarus Effect, a medical device company that developed a novel vascular interventional device designed to treat acute ischaemic stroke. The company was purchased by Medtronic for US$100 million in September 2015. Previously, Dieck headed up Nfocus Neuromedical, a developer of neurovascular intravascular devices, and Concentric Medical, which developed the first cleared device to restore blood flow in patient’s brain vessels following ischaemic stroke.

Two of the co-founders of SmartStent will also join Dieck on the Synchron board: Neurologist Thomas J Oxley, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, USA, and interventional cardiologist Rahul Sharma, Cedars-Sinai Health System, Los Angeles, USA.

Oxley is the lead author of a paper published in Nature Biotechnology, which demonstrated that Stentrode is capable of detecting brain signals. Building on the paper’s findings, it is the intent of Synchron to develop this platform for detection and treatment of a range of neurological conditions, according to a press release.

The core technology, Stentrode, was spun out of collaborative research between DARPA and the University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia), and originally pursued by SmartStent, which is being acquired by Synchron.

Synchron is currently preparing for its first in-human clinical trials of Stentrode.