Blackrock Neurotech has revealed plans to invest in a new auditory nerve implant (ANI) device that recovers hearing for the deaf.
FREMONT, CA: Blackrock Neurotech, a prominent developer of human brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, has revealed plans to invest in a new auditory nerve implant (ANI) device that recovers hearing for the deaf. The University of Minnesota, Blackrock Neurotech, MED-EL, Hannover Medical School (MHH), Feinstein, and the University of Utah are working together on the ANI device technology, which the National Institutes of Health are funding.
Blackrock's investment will expedite both pre-clinical and clinical trial activities to reach a broad group of underserved individuals for whom standard cochlear implants are insufficient.
"We are committed to accelerating the process of getting auditory nerve implants into human clinical trials, so that no patient is left behind," said Florian Solzbacher, Co-founder and Chairman at Blackrock. "The exceptional partnership with our research collaborators combined with NIH support has allowed us to make great strides towards developing and demonstrating the new technology and getting ready for use in human subjects. Together with the University of Minnesota, we are excited to be able to significantly accelerate getting devices into patients to improve hearing performance for people with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss."
Cochlear implants (CIs) have been an efficient therapy solution for persons with hearing loss since the mid-1980s. But, a significant portion of the overall patient population (approximately 30 million Americans) does not match the implantation standards. Present implants are positioned behind the ear, beneath the skin, and transfer impulses to electrodes implanted in the cochlea through a sound processor.
"It is an honor to work with Blackrock to continue our research toward a high performance ANI, "said Hubert Lim, PhD, the Lead Researcher on the grant and an Associate Professor in the University Of Minnesota's Department Of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Science and Engineering and professor in the Department of Otolaryngology in the Medical School. "The additional funding given to this project allows us to expand our outlook for the ANI on a much larger scale, with the goal of ultimately implanting 40-50 deaf patients within the next three years."