NeuroVigil Raises Seed-Stage Financing

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego-based NeuroVigil, which has developed a wireless sensor and related technology to analyze human brainwave patterns, says it has closed its first round of financing.

In its statement Monday, the startup did not identify the amount of funding or investors, saying only that the round “was led by an anonymous American industrialist and technology visionary,” and included participants on both coasts. In response to an e-mail query yesterday, NeuroVigil spokeswoman Kathleen Murray described the funding only as a seed-stage investment, and declined to say anything about the size of the funding or to identify the investors.

For an early stage life sciences startup, NeuroVigil has acquired an unusually high profile, due mostly to the company’s founding CEO, Philip Low, who is renowned for publishing a one-page doctoral thesis as a neuroscience graduate student at The Salk Institute. NeuroVigil also won $250,000 in May 2008 at the annual winner-take-all Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture challenge, and the company won the $30,000 top prize a few days later at a UC San Diego entrepreneurship challenge. NeuroVigil also won the 2010 CONNECT Most Innovative New Product Award in Life Sciences.

By combining its sensor with an algorithm that Low developed as part of his research, the company says it has developed a fundamentally new way to assess brain activity, offering the ability to detect common neurological diseases as well as changes in brain state, well before any symptoms or behavioral changes are apparent.

NeuroVigil’s technology offers pharmaceutical companies a potentially revolutionary technology for assessing the effects of pre-market drugs on the brain and of prospective treatments for sleep disorders, among other things. The technology also could be used to monitor the alertness of nightshift workers, long-haul truck drivers, and military personnel.

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