(breitbart) – Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have both reportedly invested in Synchron, a new brain-computer interface startup that aims to compete with companies like Elon Musk’s Neuralink.
Bloomberg reports that in March of last year, Tom Oxley, an expert in brain-computer interfaces, had dinner with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to discuss Oxley’s newly established company, Synchron Inc. During the dinner, which took place in Ojai, California, Bezos expressed interest in investing in the business.
On Thursday, Synchron announced that it had completed a funding round of $75 million, with Bezos Expeditions contributing a portion of the investment. The round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and included investment from Gates Frontier, the venture capital branch of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, as well as other investors. In addition, several previous investors, including Khosla Ventures and its founder, Vinod Khosla, who introduced Oxley to Gates, also participated in the funding round.
Brain-computer interfaces, also known as BCIs, have the potential to interpret and stimulate certain areas of the brain and are being explored as a possible treatment for brain injuries. According to Oxley in an interview, the new investors approached Synchron “through the lens of making an impact in neurology in an area of need.” Oxley estimates that approximately 100 million people worldwide have upper limb impairment and could potentially benefit from this technology.
This funding brings Synchron’s total funding to $145 million, making it one of the highest-funded companies in the brain-computer interface (BCI) space, according to research firm Pitchbook. While it may be behind companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink Corporation and Max Hodak’s Science Corp. in terms of fundraising, it is still far ahead of many other BCI companies. This is a significant achievement, especially considering the costly process of getting BCIs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Synchron has already enrolled three patients in a U.S. trial, with two of them receiving the implant. Oxley expects the remaining patients to enroll and receive their implants in the coming months. Over the course of a year, doctors will observe these patients and report their findings to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the past, the FDA granted Synchron “breakthrough” status, which streamlined the approval process for the company.
Elon Musk claims that Neuralink is also close to human trials. As Breitbart News reported:
Elon Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink aims to start implanting its brain implants into human patients within six months. A Pew poll in early 2022 found that only 13 percent of Americans believe that Musk’s brain chips will be good for society. Bloomberg reports that Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface firm, said at a Wednesday evening event at its headquarters that it plans to begin putting its coin-sized computing brain implant into human patients in six months. This news comes despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of America think slapping a computer chip inside the human brain is a terrible idea for society. Musk said that Neuralink’s device, which has been refined over the past years, would be implanted into people using a robot that carves out a piece of their skull and attaches the device to their brain. Discussions with the FDA mean that the company can plan to begin it’s first human trials in the next six months, he said.
Read more at Bloomberg here.