EDITOR'S NOTE: From a security software maker to the developer of an implantable spinal cord neuromodulator, the Business Journal highlights seven spun-out ventures looking to ride the lab coattails of USC, UCLA and Caltech.


Product: Implantable spinal cord neuromodulator with high-density electrode array

Chief Executive: Nick Terrafranca Jr.

Year Founded: 2011

Location: Los Angeles

What does the product do?

Our technology provides electrical stimulation in a defined pattern to the spinal cord, “waking it up,” enabling it to recognize the sensory information being gathered by the nerves in our bodies and acting upon this information by delivering the appropriate command signal to restore voluntary movement and function for paralyzed people.

What was the idea that led to the creation of the company?

Existing technology/devices did not provide the optimum response. Our theory that the brain was not necessary to restore voluntary movement and function was demonstrated in numerous animal models, leading to proof in human experiments. The answer was within the spinal cord. The key mechanism had been worked out; the appropriate device to facilitate the action needed to be made.

What has been the benefit of spinning the company out of Caltech?

Immediate credibility with investors; recognition for partnering with prestigious universities and world-renowned scientists; strong IP.

What has been the biggest change since spinning off?

A change in mindset. Gathering an understanding and appreciation for how the business sector views new technology along with their expectations for results.

How can the product change society?

Decrease health care costs, restore lost productivity, increase quality of life through restored movement and function, decrease co-morbidity and chronic illness, increased independence, lessen the burden on support systems (social services, families), increase life expectancy. All for spinal cord injury patients now and all other paralyzed patients in the future, including stroke victims.

What’s next for the company?

Begin commercial development of our products then enter into clinical trials.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.