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EIT Health-accelerated Sicilian start-up raises €1 million VC funding to improve cognitive rehabilitation

15th July 2020

Restorative Neurotechnologies, the winner of the EIT Health Headstart 2019, has attracted the interest of four investors and received €1 million for further development. This spin-off from the University of Palermo was also supported by Consorzio ARCA, EIT Health Hub.

Restorative Neurotechnologies, the winner of EIT Health Headstart 2019, has just announced raising €1 mln from four investors. One of them was the CDP Venture Capital Sgr — National Innovation Fund. This investment will help in scaling up their medical device also on other markets, outside Italy. Mindlenses is a complete combination of cognitive stimulation, digital rehabilitation and digitalised user management. The solution composes of a wearable device and software installed on a tablet. A pair of special glasses is equipped with the prismatic lenses that deviate the visual field to the right or left. The research team found that the deviation induced by the prismatic lenses is detected by the brain, which puts in place compensatory mechanism capable of stimulating the rehabilitation process. Prismatic glasses are used with serious games installed on a tablet, designed to enhance specific cognitive functions. The solution already proved a reduction in costs and treatment time and improvement in the quality of therapy for patients and caregivers. Mindlenses are already certified as a medical device by the Italian Ministry of Health.

Neurological disorders need value-based healthcare solutions

According to the World Health Organization, around 1 billion patients suffer from neurological disorders worldwide. This problem has an impact on the quality of life, health systems and income capacity of patients and their caregivers. Data from the European Brain Council indicates that a total of 220.7 million people in Europe suffer from at least one neurological disease. According to Eurostat, the number of people in the EU over age 65 will double by the year 2060 to 52%.

Restorative Neurotechnologies tries to answer those challenges. Neurological diseases cost approximately €336 billion a year indirectly and directly. We are amazed by the pace of the development of the team coming from Palermo. This is yet another great example of a start-up from more progressing regions that is highly skilled, motivated and successful says Chiara Maiorino, Regional Manager for Italy, EIT Health InnoStars.

The team led by Prof. Massimo Oliveri has earlier raised €40,000 in the Headstart 2019. After the winning, Prof. Oliveri mentioned: We have been encouraged by the need of new competencies in our team, in the field of business and creation of new market places. On the other hand, we looked for a chance to improve our business plan and new sources of investment. The access to a competition such as the acceleration programmes of EIT Health, specifically designed for biomedical businesses, allowed us to complete the development of our product.” The team also closed €110,000 SocialFare Seed funding round in 2019. Now, one of the new investors, CDP Venture Capital Sgr – National Innovation Fund, will provide further support for all phases of product development and support scale-out. The fund, 70% owned by CDP Equity (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Group) and 30% by Invitalia, aims to support and promote Italian innovative start-ups in the Southern part of the country through the so-called Southern Business Fund.

The collaboration between Prof. Oliveri and Consorzio ARCA began in 2013, when the group he led took part in the ARCA Business Plan competition, StartCup Palermo. We supported the group as a tutor for the preparation of their business plan, and supported them first in participating in InnoStars Awards in 2017 and then in the selection process of the SocialFare Accelerator which, in 2018, led them to start a second spin-off, namely Restorative Technologies comments Fiammetta Panto, Consorzio ARCA, EIT Health Hub in Italy.

The investment in Restorative Neurotechnologies is not only an important step in favour for the Sicilian team, but it can also boost international awareness about the innovative start-ups from the South-Italian region, included in the EIT Health Regional Innovation Scheme.

 

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