Eindhoven is the most important high-tech innovation center you’ve never heard of, but it’s making news this week.
G-Therapeutics, based both in Eindhoven and Lausanne, has raised at total of 36 million euros to move its novel neuro-stimulation therapy spinal cord injuries from the lab to patients. The capital comes in the form of equity from major European healthcare investment and venture capital firms, as well as a debt infusion from the Dutch government.
The Dutch/Swiss collaboration is developing an implantable neuro-stimulation system that stimulates specific areas of the spinal cord. G-Therapeutics will use the new funding for a multi-center clinical study on the way to obtaining regulatory approval, according to a news release.
Professor Gregoire Courtine’s team at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has proven the combination of neuro-stimulation and will-powered training “results in a massive remodelling of residual neural connections, restoring voluntary control over paralysed limbs,” according to the release. The new approach to spinal-cord injuries uses an implantable neuro-stimulation system for the spinal cord with real-time motion feedback, and intent-driven rehabilitation. The system gives patients the ability to walk again by delivering electrical pulses to the correct nerves at the appropriate time, letting the patients raise and lower their legs and feet.
G-Therapeutics is a spin-off of the elite École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, with offices in Eindhoven and Switzerland. G-Therapeutics raised 26 million in a round co-led by healthcare investment firm LSP and INKEF Capital, both based in Amsterdam. Gimv, based in Brussels, and Munich-based Wellington Partners Venture Capital also have invested, according to the release. In addition, G-Therapeutics secured a 10 million euro deferred, risk-bearing “innovation loan” (a debenture, in American finance-speak) from the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, part of Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The clinical and regulatory activities of the company will remain in Lausanne, where Courtine has his lab at EPFL. The actual development of the implantable neuro-stimulation system and general management of the company will be based at the High Tech Campus, Eindhoven,
For more than 15 years, Courtine has been working on unravelling the mechanisms underlying an effective treatment for people with a spinal cord injury affecting the lower limbs, according to the release. “I am delighted that after a decade of dedicated research and all the scientific accomplishments of my team, G-Therapeutics will enable the development of realistic therapeutic solutions for people with spinal cord injury,” stated the co-founder and chief scientific officer of the company.
We don’t know if this is related to the G-Therapeutics announcement, but speaking of Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to visit on Thursday, April 21. The Dutch government chose to host Merkel in Eindhoven – not exactly windmills-and-canals Holland – because it’s an innovation center, and German and Dutch officials will be discussing how to push the EU forward.
“We, as Brainport Region, are the most innovative region within the Netherlands,” stated Eindhoven MayorRob van Gijzel on the Eindhoven government website:
Our region’s profile, high-tech, knowledge and manufacturing industries and design is a perfect match with that of Germany, as world leader in the field of equipment construction and engineering. There is hardly a company in our region which doesn’t have a German partner. ASML, for example, which the Chancellor will visit, has many high-end suppliers in Germany. In particular, it works very closely with the lens manufacturer Zeiss.
The website notes that Merkel, who was trained as a physicist, has asked to visit chip-making machine manufacturer ASML. ASML leads the world in lithography machines, which are used in the production of microchips.
Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus has about 140 companies and institutes and some 10,000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs.