Submitted by Koch Industries
Koch Disruptive Technologies is leading a $25 million Series A funding round in NeuraLight, an AI-driven company developing objective and sensitive biomarkers for neurological disorders, including ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The technology’s critical component: a webcam or smartphone camera.
HOW IT WORKS: NeuraLight applies modern image analysis techniques to diagnose and track neurological disorders – which can often be difficult to catch at an early stage – by monitoring and measuring eye movements from facial videos captured with a standard webcam or smartphone.
“You can’t develop drugs for diseases you can’t measure,” NeuraLight CEO Micha Breakstone told TechCrunch, adding that NeuraLight’s techniques are as accurate, “if not more, than a professional gaze tracker that costs tens of thousands of dollars,” he says.
WHY IT MATTERS: Neurological disorders are the world’s leading cause of disability. Tracking eye movement has long been a key part of monitoring these disorders – but until now, there has not been a reliable way to measure the progress of diseases.
Neurological evaluation is highly subjective, with a 25%-30% variability depending on who’s measuring. There is up to a 30% chance of misdiagnosis for diseases such as Parkinson’s. The lack of data has resulted in just a 6% approval rate for neurological therapeutics, less than half the approval rate for non-neurological drugs.
Digital markers extracted from video with NeuraLight’s technology can provide an accurate snapshot of a person’s neurological status, enabling pharmaceutical companies to develop better products that reduce misdiagnosis and accurately and sensitively measure disease progression.
The goal is to “establish a novel standard for neurological disorders, for progression, monitoring and diagnosis, but to start with pharma as a decision-making tool,” Micha told TechCrunch. “We’re on an urgent mission to make a real impact — this isn’t academic.”
WHY KOCH INVESTED: The funding round will support NeuraLight as it works to improve the design of neurological clinical trials and help advance new treatments.
“NeuraLight's precise friction-reducing breakthrough to create digital biomarkers can transform the field of neurology – from early detection to drug discovery,” said Eli Groner, managing director at Koch Disruptive Technologies. “We are very excited about the implications for humanity.”
GO DEEPER: Koch Industries has recently invested more than $3 billion in health care tech, with KDT’s investment in NeuraLight the latest example of a continued focus on improving health care outcomes.
Read about the other health care-focused investments in KDT’s portfolio here, and follow NeuraLight’s latest developments on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Creating value. Transforming life.
Our life’s work is to help people improve their lives by making and innovating products and services our customers value. Our focus is on delivering mutual benefit: Win-win outcomes that make life better for customers and employees alike.
Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries is one of the largest private companies in America. A diverse set of businesses and industries across the world, we work together to keep improving and exploring new ways to make life even better.
Koch companies are involved in manufacturing, agriculture, pulp and paper, packaging, consumer products, building materials, glass, automotive components, refining, renewable energy, chemicals and polymers, electronics, enterprise software, data analytics, medical products, engineered technology, project services, recycling, supply chain and logistics, global commodities trading, and investments. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested more than $150 billion in growth and improvements. With a presence in about 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 120,000 people worldwide, with about half of those in the United States.
Stewardship in all we do.
Our approach to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) is different than most. We believe in people and seek a system of equal rights and mutual benefit where individuals succeed by helping others succeed – and where people are empowered to improve their lives and their communities. It’s why we focus on empowering individuals to improve their lives and communities through bottom-up solutions rather than top-down imperatives.
Consuming fewer resources, minimizing waste and constantly innovating to improve our manufacturing processes and performance is essential to the way we do business – benefiting our customers, employees, investors, communities and planet.
Five environmental stewardship priorities.
With more than 300 manufacturing sites across the United States – and about 100 more globally – we’re one of America’s largest manufacturers. Every day, across those sites, we strive to create more value, using fewer resources than the day before. We do it through constant improvement and innovation – both in the products we make and how we make them, and by managing our resources in a way that benefits our customers, employees, partners, community members and society.
Philanthropy. Health and safety. Diversity and inclusion. Meaningful, rewarding careers and community outreach. These are just some of the vital priorities of social stewardship that empower each of our employees to develop, contribute, self-actualize and create value for the world while supporting communities in which we live.
Our management framework, Principle Based Management™, is based on proven principles of human progress and a deep appreciation for the dignity of every individual. Our private ownership, shared Vision, Values, compliance standards and oversight all help us focus on long-term value creation.
More from Koch Industries