Aleva Neurotherapeutics is a spin-off from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Microsystems Laboratory of Prof. Philippe Renaud. The company develops next-generation implants for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy. They are designed to be more versatile, more precise and more efficient than currently available DBS approaches while causing fewer side effects and complications.
In August 2011, Aleva Neurotherapeutics raised a Series A round of financing totaling EUR 9.5 million from a group of renowned investors, among them BioMedInvest AG, BB Biotech Ventures LP, Initiative Capital Romandie and selected private investors. In April 2012 Aleva Neurotherapeutics raised a Series B round of financing totaling EUR 3.3 million from additional investors including Banexi Venture Partners.
Technology & Pipeline
Aleva’s proprietary microDBS™ technology is based on thin film microscale electrodes, which are non-toxic and biocompatible. It allows for precise, target-specific brain stimulation which significantly reduces the side effects and potential complications as well as the costs of DBS therapy. Moreover, its features allow for expanding the existing DBS market to new indications which cannot be addressed by currently available technologies.
Based on its microDBS™ technology, Aleva is developing three novel, brain stimulating products with different properties:
directSTIM™ is designed to improve currently available DBS procedures by reducing surgery times, side effects and re-operations. The product allows for directional stimulation and better targeting of the region which is to be modulated. This electrode will significantly reduce side effects generally associated with the DBS procedure. Clinical trials are expected to start in late 2011.
spiderSTIM™ is a full solution for both intra-surgical and long-term therapeutic use. Due to improved safety and certainty of the procedure, the device increases the number of patients with Parkinson´s disease who are eligible for DBS treatment. Moreover, the architecture of this expandable electrode will allow reaching new target regions in the brain and tackle new indications such as post-traumatic stress disorders. It will be initially developed as a 510K product in the US.
cortiSTIM™ is an implant for highly localized cortical stimulation, making it an attractive device for disease indications which currently cannot be addressed by neurostimulation. This implantable electrode will enable the neurosurgeon to cover a surface of the brain and to adjust the depth of the modulation areas. One potential indication could be essential tremors.
All of Aleva’s products will be fully compatible with existing DBS technologies and devices, more specifically the Implantable Pulse Generators.
Aleva is developing its products as complementary implants to existing DBS devices. This strategy allows for faster market penetration and easier regulatory product development. Moreover, by developing products with greatly improved accuracy and fewer side effects, more patients can benefit from DBS therapy - both in existing DBS indications as well as in new ones. Therefore, Aleva is positioning itself as an attractive corporate partner for established companies focusing on DBS solutions.
The market for neurostimulation is the fastest growing segment of the Central Nervous System (CNS) sector. Aging populations and the rise of neurodegenerative disorders are key factors for the sustained growth of this market.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), a sub-segment of neurostimulation, is currently estimated a US$450 million market with double-digit annual growth rates. However, it is regarded as a last resort treatment due to a lack of precision and high rates of surgical complications caused by the technical design of currently available DBS devices. At the same time, the clinical effectiveness of DBS therapy has been demonstrated in various studies (e.g. Journal of American Medical Association, January 7, 2009). Therefore, the need for next-generation DBS devices continues to grow significantly.