NeuroLaunch, a year-old accelerator for startups seeking to develop technologies based on neuroscience, is expanding from its home base in Atlanta to Boston and San Francisco this summer.
The program is already taking applications, said co-founder Jordan Amadio, a neurosurgery resident at Emory University, and will begin in June and end with a demonstration day in Atlanta in August. Between six and ten spots are available, and successful applicants will have the option of working at any of the three locations.
Six startups completed the first round of the program in February and have collectively raised over $4 million in seed funding. Among them is Boston startup Cognition Medical, which is building a device to help mitigate the effects of stroke, and Brainchild Technologies from New Haven, which makes a “smart pacifier” for infants that allows parents to monitor their development via a smartphone app.
Amadio believes that neuroscience is coming into its own as a sub-category within the health and wearables space and points to two prominent national research investments that have been launched in the past two years. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative was announced by President Obama in 2013 and channels federal and nonprofit foundation funding toward mapping the human brain, and the European Union’s $1 billion investment in the Human Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lau- sanne has a similar goal.
NeuroLaunch’s goal is to nurture potential commercial applications as they emerge from the research, said Amadio. Startups that are working on both medical and consumer technologies are invited to apply.
Amadio received a joint MBA and medical degree from Harvard and MIT’s Health Sciences and Technology program, and he is an adviser at the Harvard iLab. Through the Boston-based accelerator, he intends to cultivate local relationships for future startups. So far, that includes law firm Foley and Lardner, which will offer legal advice to the startups, and Matt Bianchi, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital.