JuneBrain, a startup company that is developing a wearable head imaging device that enables multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to remotely monitor their disease activity and treatment response, has received a $50,000 investment through TEDCO’s Builder Fund, the investor announced.
MS is caused by inflammation in the brain, which causes damage to brain structures. This damage is visible on MRI scans, and observing changes in lesions and other brain features through MRI scans is a key component of how healthcare workers monitor disease progression in people with MS.
MRIs are large and expensive, requiring special expertise to operate and analyze results. According to JuneBrain, most people with MS get MRI scans only once or twice per year. This means that changes in the brain — such as new or worsening inflammation — can go undetected for months. Also, clinicians and patients have less data to work with when making decisions about treatment, assessing treatment responses, and predicting the future course of the disease.
As such, there is a need for imaging technologies that would allow people with MS to monitor their disease activity between their follow-up visits. Because changes in the retina are strongly associated with measures of disease activity in MS, JuneBrain’s patent-pending technology aims to address this issue via a wearable retinal imaging device.
JuneBrain was one of eight to receive an investment from TEDCO’s Builder Fund. The Builder Fund, started in 2018, provides support to Maryland-based minority and women-owned firms that often face social and economic barriers to accessing capital.
All eight of the companies to receive funding are led by founders who are women, minorities, and/or veterans.
“The Builder Fund investments demonstrates our focus on investing in companies where our support can have a consequential impact on a companies ability to grow in industry sectors that are critical to Maryland’s economic development,” Linda Singh, interim executive director and CEO of TEDCO, said in a press release.
In addition to JuneBrain, $50,000 in funding was given to:
- CarrTech, a woman-led firm developing a new kind of filter needle;
- ClearMask, a company founded by a deaf woman, that makes transparent medical face masks;
- Emergency Medical Innovation, led by a female emergency physician, developing a device to treat nosebleeds;
- IPGen, led by a Black man, is developing software to predict whether a patent claim will be allowed or rejected;
- PediaMetrix, a startup founded and led by a woman, that sells diagnostic software for assessing and aiding in the treatment of flat head syndrome;
- PerSoN Clinic, a woman-led platform that aids in designing individualized treatments for cancer, depression and smoking addiction patients;
- Pet Connect, which provides resources to pet owners and pet-related businesses.
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