Ybrain Closes $3.5 Million Series A For Alzheimer’s-Focused Wearables


Korean digital health startup Ybrain announces that it has closed a $3.5 million Series A round led by Stonebridge Capital. The funding come a year after a 2013 seed round which netted $650,000 from a group of undisclosed angel investors, bringing Ybrain’s total raised to $4.1 million. co-founder Seungyeon Kim reports that the new funding will be used to pay for clinical trials of its flagship product, a headset designed to help reduce cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Led by California Institute of Technology neuroscientist Kyongsik Yun, Ybrain has designed a headset with two embedded electrodes that generate and repeatedly administer a small 2-milliampere electrical signal into the brain. These signals stimulate brain activity in the patient, reducing cognitive degeneration over time. The device was designed for patients who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, but the company reports that older patients with mild cognitive impairment are also able to benefit from using the device. Patients are instructed to use the device for 30 minutes per day, five-days per week.

The device is showing promising results in early testing. Initial results suggest that daily use of the wearable device was 20 to 30 percent more effective at limiting the symptoms of Alzheimer’s than traditional oral medications currently in use. Researchers with Ybrain are working to confirm and expand on these initial findings through full clinical trials that are currently underway.

With the only wearable device that addresses the needs of Alzheimer’s patients already in clinical trials, and results suggesting the treatment may be more effective than the current standard of care, Ybrain sees a clear pathway to monetization. The company sees an immediate addressable market of $100 million in Korea, with billions in additional potential to follow after FDA approval for US marketing. The timing of the new product is also ideal for Ybrain, as Fortune Sohn, an analyst at Stonebridge Capital, explains, “Most Alzheimer’s disease experts are forecasting that new Alzheimer’s oral medications may not come out until 2025. Ybrain’s global first Alzheimer patient ready wearables will be a great solution.”

The company will use the funding to complete clinical trials and ramp up manufacturing processes, leading up to an expected 2015 product launch.

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