For Immediate Release
“Neural Dust” Biotech Startup iota Completes $15 Million Funding, Expands Leadership Team
Berkeley company’s implantable technology interfaces directly with nerves to precisely treat diseases
Jan. 3, 2019 – BERKELEY, Calif. — iota Biosciences (iota.bio), a developer of implantable bioelectronic devices, today announced the expansion of its leadership team following completion of its $15 million series A funding round. The company holds exclusive license to the award-winning “neural dust” platform based on technology developed at the University of California, Berkeley by co-founders and co-CEOs Jose Carmena, Ph.D. and Michel Maharbiz, Ph.D. Series A investors include Horizons Ventures, Astellas, Bold Capital Partners, Ironfire, and Shanda.
iota is using the funding to accelerate commercialization of its breakthrough millimeter-sized ultrasonic devices, which offer potentially revolutionary therapeutic applications for numerous chronic conditions from inflammation to motor disorders and eventually to cognitive impairment. The company has also named James Hattersley, a seasoned business development executive with over 25 years of business development and scientific leadership experience in the life sciences industry, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Business Development. Before iota Biosciences, Hattersley held senior business development roles at Santen Pharmaceutical Co. LTD, Adherium LTD., Nektar Therapeutics, and Sun Pharma Industries.
“We are excited to embark on the next stage of our mission to transform medicine with our implantable technology,” said Maharbiz. “This funding round will advance the technology to clinical pre-trials, bringing this cutting-edge technology to the bedside as soon as possible to save lives and improve health outcomes,” said Carmena.
“iota’s neural dust platform is a major breakthrough that opens up many doors for bioelectronic medicine and brain-machine interfaces,” said Ehud Isacoff, director of UC Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. “Like many other startups that have originated at UC Berkeley, iota emerged from exploratory research. The company’s success and promise of life-changing effects for millions who suffer from debilitating disease points to the importance of funding fundamental experimental research.”
iota’s neural dust platform is powered by ultrasound, enabling the company to produce devices the size of a grain of sand that avoid the dangers associated with wire- and battery-powered implantables. Because they are smaller and can be implanted deeper into the human body than traditional technologies, neural dust can interface directly with specific nerve clusters, enabling more precise diagnostics and treatments. iota’s devices can simultaneously record information and stimulate nerves, offering near instantaneous closed-loop therapies that could better treat complex disease from the inside out.
Founded in 2017 with the vision of transforming medicine through vanishingly-small implantable devices, iota (iota.bio) holds exclusive rights to the award-winning neural dust technology developed by researchers at UC Berkeley. In 2018, the company completed a $15 million series A round of funding. iota is based in Berkeley, California and is privately held.